Houghton Mufflin Harcourt (HMH) and digital learning platform BenchPrep are partnering to add new personalized digital learning solutions to CliffsNotes study guides. Beginning with SAT® test preparation, the newest CliffsNotes guides will be subscription-based and available on desktop and mobile devices using the BenchPrep platform.
“We are very proud of the CliffsNotes brand-its history and ever-engaging content written for students by real educators, as well as its enduring reputation as the go-to study guide series,” said Bruce Nichols, SVP and publisher of HMH Trade Publishing, in the announcement. “Now, we are thrilled to take our guides to the next level. BenchPrep shares HMH’s commitment to improving learning outcomes, and its outstanding technology has allowed us to reach this new milestone for CliffsNotes, as we increase digital capability and enhance personalization.”
The new guides will provide an assessment engine, engaging games and insightful analytics to help high school and college students identify strengths and weaknesses, stay organized with personalized study plans and simulate the test-taking experience with interactive practice exams and scoring. The initial release of subscription-based study guides will include Algebra I and II, Anatomy and Physiology, and Biology. Additional subjects and standardized tests will be available next year.
Promotional pricing for the SAT® subscriptions is as follows:
Promotional pricing for Algebra I and II, Anatomy and Physiology, and Biology are as follows:
By comparison, a student studying for the SAT ® could purchase a study book from CliffNotes, ranging in price from $14.99 to $16.99. Many, if not all, of the other academic study guides are offered for free.
“We are extremely excited to partner with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on this game-changing initiative. The CliffsNotes digital learning solution will enable student success by delivering a compelling, personalized learning experience wrapped around best-in-class content,” added BenchPrep CEO and Co-founder, Ashish Rangnekar. “With this partnership, we will redefine how millions of students engage with their favorite content.”
CliffsNotes, the most widely used study guide series, was founded in 1958 with its website, CliffNotes.com, averaging 4.5 million unique visitors per month. HMH acquired CliffsNotes in 2012.
This is not HMH’s first foray into the subscription world. Last October HMH launched Curious World, a subscription-based collection of games, videos and e-books for children ages 3 to 7. In the company’s second quarter 2016 financials released earlier this month, they announced that the early learning platform had hit the one million download milestone.
In its second quarter financials, the company reported net sales of $392 million, an increase of $12 million year-over-year, but the company also reported a net loss of $28 million, a $20 million increase over its $8 million loss this time last year. The company lowered its full year outlook for the year.
HMH President and CEO Linda K. Zecher said, “Despite the revision in guidance, we are seeing continued strength in the fundamentals of our business, and we remain confident about our growth strategy as we move into 2017 and beyond.”
Partnering with digital platforms to expand its own offerings is a smart play for HMH. It has already seen success with Curious World, so it makes sense to try that model with its popular CliffsNotes test prep products and study guides and test it on a small scale with a few popular subjects. After a few months, the company can evaluate its results and use that time to plan additional subjects – always a smart plan for subscription companies. Test, tweak, repeat.