Late last year, Channel 4 Education announced a complete rethink of its TV-heavy commissioning strategy and said it was devoting its entire 2008 budget to cross-platform projects.
But it seems the broadcaster is not just keen to acquire new digital content – it also wants to invest in companies that support it.
According to commissioning editor Matt Locke, it is one of a number of firms that has just ploughed “a six figure sum” into School of Everything, a UK-based start-up that aims to encourage informal learning via the web.
He told us:
“We thought that [School of Everything] could be interesting because it could underpin a lot of projects we are doing this year, where we are encouraging people to use the web to share learning.
"We are working with them on a number of projects... but chose to structure that as an investment.”
School of Everything's site, launched in 2007, matches up learners and teachers through social media and already looks like a fantastic idea. Although only a few months old, it expanded internationally earlier this month and has already been working with C4 on its educational remit.
The broadcaster made the investment through its £6m commissioning budget for learning-related projects, and will be on the look out for more opportunities after this month's launch of a £50m fund for digital content.
In education, Locke says such moves are already afoot:
“We are trying a couple of experiments in education about investing in start-ups where we think there is a long term need to support a community or platform.”