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Pearson launches new student app as US growth drives swing to profits

By Frank Prenesti

Date: Friday 30 Jul 2021

Pearson launches new student app as US growth drives swing to profits

(Sharecast News) - Education publisher Pearson on Friday launched an app for US college students as it planned to expand its footprint in the digital marketplace after reporting better than expected first-half profit and underlying sales as demand for online learning increased.

Pearson now plans to adopt a direct-to-consumer strategy offering unlimited access as it looks to stabilise revenues in what has been a volatile market.

Chief executive Andy Bird, the former Disney executive who joined took over last October, said the "all you can eat" app, called 'Pearson+' was designed to offer the same ease of use as those students already use. He is hoping the new product will create a relationship with students for life-long learning from childhood to the workforce.

Bird said that students could pay $9.99 a month for a single e-book, or $14.99 a month for a multi-access package.

The launch came as Pearson posted an adjusted operating profit of £127m in the six months to June 30 from a £23m loss last year, beating a company compiled range of £100m - £120m. Underlying revenue rose 17% to £1.59bn.

An interim dividend of 6.3p was declared, up 5%. The company maintained its full-year outlook.

"Pearson has made good strategic, operational and financial progress in the first half of 2021 leading to healthy revenue and profit growth in the period," said chief executive Andy Bird.

"This reflects a strong rebound from 2020 with encouraging momentum in the underlying business."

Global Online Learning sales rose 25% due to strong demand for Virtual Schools enrolment in the US, Global Assessment sales were up 34% following the cancellation of exams last year, and its US Higher Education business fell by 2%.


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