creativeLIVE Launches Live, Online Master Class Series

creativeLIVE, an online education startup that offers courses on a broad range of topics from marketing to photography, has announced that it will continue to buck the trend of pre-recorded lectures and deliver a series of online “master classes” live, Ki Mae Heussner of GigaOM reports.

To attract attention in the online education sphere dominated by Coursera and Udemy, creativeLIVE is piling up talent on its digital teaching slate. Among those scheduled to teach in the master class series are such notables as Guy Kawasaki and Reid Hoffman.

Since the company opened its doors in 2010, its students have watched more than one million hosted learning hours per month. It offers an approach unique among online learning vendors by offering courses in real time as well as in pre-recorded video clips.

Unlike other companies targeting lifelong learners, creativeLIVE doesn’t just offer pre-taped video courses. Users can purchase recorded courses but watch frequent live broadcasts of classes on everything from software development to filmmaking for free. Salmi said that the average live class receives 30,000 unique viewers and while he declined to share how popular the paid courses are, he said that the company has paid out a total of $3.5 million to the more than 100 instructors who teach 250 different courses on the site.

Although creativeLIVE concluded a successful funding round last year, it hasn’t drawn the same amount of press attention is others in the sector, which could be attributed to lack storied pedigree. While Udacity and Coursera list former Stanford faculty and Google executive among their founders, creativeLIVE, which resembles a cable channel more than anything else, was founded by photographer Chase Jarvis and businessman Craig Swanson. Mike Salmi, current CEO and former president of Viacom Digital, came aboard in 2012.

Its high production values also attracted funding from entities that don’t typically play in the online education space, like Creative Artists Agency and William Morris Endeavor.

For now, the company’s audience is mostly U.S.-based, although Salmi said that its most successful broadcasts get viewers from around the world. But it has aspirations for cultivating an even more global audience. Given its focus on live broadcasts, it would make sense for the company to open up studios in different time zones. But Salmi declined to comment on future plans regarding new studios, saying only that viewers tune in at all different times of the day and night to watch its broadcasts and that it’s exploring different products that would enable the company to reach a global market on a real-time basis.

The company also announced that it will be moving its headquarters to San Francisco from Seattle.

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