Since early December, creativeLIVE, Seattle photographer/entrepreneur Chase Jarvis’ three year old web venture, has been getting the recognition it truly deserves after it started broadcasting live online courses 24 hours a day, seven days a week from studios in Seattle and San Francisco. The classes consist of five subject areas: business/money, music/audio, photo/video, maker/craft and art/design; which are taught by A-list instructors: bestselling authors, Pulitzer Prize winners and top business leaders. When live, interested people can watch the courses for free, while purchasing copies of the content ranges from $30 to $150.
As Renay San Miguel of King 5 News reports, an ambitious investment in the staff and technology needed to broadcast live web content around the world is represented by creativeLIVE. Nearly $30 million has been raised by the company in series A and B funding from investors such as Greylock Partners, and people who helped put Flickr, Netflix and AtomFilms on the entrepreneurial map are included in its board/team members. As Jarvis puts it, it’s not just about proving that his business model can work.
“We believe that creativity is the new literacy,” Jarvis said. “We wanted to propagate that idea by sharing it, sharing the ideas and the tactics of the people who have actually done this stuff – the world’s best – with the global population.”
Jarvis said that the results after two weeks have been encouraging. More than two million people in 200 countries have been reached by creativeLIVE. One “mind-blowing” data point: the average watch time is just over three hours. However, Jarvis said that the company will resist the temptation to place advertising around its content despite that kind of viewer engagement. To Jarvis, his belief that the company’s brand of online education can exist in a world where broadcast and web networks narrowcast content for topics such as sports, comedy and food all the time are validated by the early results.
“There isn’t something that is specifically for creative-based education, and now we’re filling that niche. We’re very optimistic about where it’s going,” he said.
He adds that the key difference is live programming.
“It’s a huge advantage to be able to connect with a global audience. Nobody watches the Super Bowl the day after the Super Bowl,” he said. “There’s a huge audience that pours into creativeLIVE every day as we broadcast on these five channels 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
The focus of the content is on creative skills for artists, makers/craftspeople and business types/entrepreneurs as they are all part of what Jarvis says is a $100 billion dollar a year market in continuing education – a figure that includes everything from community colleges to seminars and other web-related companies.
“The future is skills-based,” he said, “and having a wide range of life experiences is going up on the value chain relative to where research shows the other four-year institutions – the traditional paths – are really eroding. So by providing real skills, I think we’re adding a ton of value.”
None of that means future employers will start disregarding educational basics as Jarvis admits. But he said that the kinds of skills creativeLIVE teaches can help people deal with problems they encounter in the workplace.
“The future of all problem solving has a very strong creative component to it, so we intend to help people take those first three, four steps in reaching their maximum human potential,” he said.