Language learning community Livemocha, now over 5 million members strong, announced a new partnership with a publisher. This time it is Collins and together they will work on premium Spanish, French, German and Italian courses.
Now this means basically that the giant from the other side of the Atlantic throws an eye on the market of its smaller competitors Babbel and Busuu, namely Europe.
But that’s not all as this time it gets even bigger with the new team taking a swing at the market leader. A new hybrid course will be offered in bookstores and other retail locations around the world. Quoting Rob Scriven, Managing Director of Collins Language:
Collins and Livemocha are natural partners: Collins as a top language brand and Livemocha as the biggest and best online language-learning site. HarperCollins also brings in to play its effective worldwide distribution capability, enabling the partnership also to provide a blended product to customers in bookshops as well as online. Our mutual ambition is to be the Number One language learning providers of the next decade.
And we all know who is the number one right now. Hence this alliance is targeting to dispossess Rosetta Stone and take the place at the top. As Rob Scriven says: ambitious. But I won’t say impossible.
Shirish Nadkarni, CEO of Livemocha adds in the press release:
In our collaboration with Collins, we will provide Livemocha members with exciting additions they have requested, and deliver an online language learning experience that surpasses any other. It’s a tremendous opportunity to combine exceptional learning content with our vibrant community to raise the standard of language learning online yet again.
I think with this press release Livemocha and Collins laid it on the line: they want to go into close combat with Rosetta Stone, not only on the internet but also in retail shops and bookstores hence in Rosetta Stone’s market positioning. Up to now Rosetta Stone was quite low-key about the fact that Livemocha chose them as target to aim for but I think that now they need to answer in some way, at latest in early 2011 when the launch of the retail sale is planned. The first online courses are planned for Summer 2010 already.
And let’s not forget Babbel and Busuu. If Livemocha / Collins (and Pearson) on the one side and Rosetta Stone at the other side start throwing money into marketing to gain / keep market share it could get risky for the smaller communities as all eyes will go towards this fight of the giants. They will buy online ads, displays in the retail stores etc. Let’s hope Babbel and Busuu don’t get trampled beneath their feets.