LinkedIn expands Lynda.com to Roku with new learning channel

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LinkedIn is expanding its Lynda.com platform to Roku devices, and in doing so it might prove streaming video services can be more than mindless entertainment.

First some background. LinkedIn spent $1.5 billion to buy Lynda.com in April. The platform boasts more than 4,000 courses featuring 150,000 videos made by expert instructors, and despite an emphasis on high production values, LinkedIn said in an email that it’s adding more lessons to the platform every single day.

A shot of Lynda's new channel on Roku set-top boxes.

A shot of Lynda’s new channel on Roku set-top boxes.

The app available on Roku devices will provide access to all of these videos. It will even synchronize a user’s position in various lessons across devices, so they don’t have to worry about losing their place if they move from a TV to a laptop. The catch: Most videos are exclusive to members who pay $20 to $35 per month.

“Our goal is to extend the Lynda.com footprint and create a new channel for users to engage with our content, while providing a consistent and seamless experience across multiple screens,” a LinkedIn spokesperson said. “Now you or your family members can learn new skills from the comfort of your couch.”

Or they could do something cheaper. They could get access to countless movies and television shows from Netflix for $10. They could watch commercial-free television on Hulu for $12. Hell, they could even get access to HBO’s original programming and videos unavailable on other streaming services for just $15.

Compare that to the $25 a single month of Lynda.com access costs — the lower $20 price is for people who pay for the service annually instead of monthly — and it’s easy to see where a budget-conscious person might choose to spend their money. How’s education supposed to compete with endless entertainment?

There are some real benefits to having an app available for set-top boxes, prime among them is the ability to follow along with a lesson on a laptop without having to switch between multiple windows. It could also help more people learn about a skill in a group setting instead of being an otherwise individual activity.

Existing subscribers to Lynda.com might rejoice at being able to view the platform’s lessons on television sets. But with a monthly fee that could cover two other streaming services (almost three for Lynda.com’s premium members) it’s hard to see the Roku expansion getting more people to sign up to the platform.

That might change if Lynda.com’s subscriptions ever fall in price. Until then, however, it looks like the mindless entertainers are going to remain undefeated.

2 Comments

Leslie

As a Lynda.com subscriber for the past 10 years, I can say that at $25 a month it is one of the best investments I’ve ever made. Technology changes so rapidly that it would be impossible for me to stay relevant without having these courses that distill information down into exactly what I need. Not everything has to come on the cheap….some things are worth paying for.

Paul

The value calculation becomes how many hours will one actually end up spending leveraging the quality Lynda.com content for the price. Lynda.com makes the argument look how inexpensive it is to get all this content. However, busy people actually/likely only leverage a few hours of the content per year (despite best intentions for learning plans) and therein lies the mismatch in Lynda.com pricing and value. It the availability of the subscriber.

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