BBC and BBC Worldwide form partnership

May 9, 2001

BBC and BBC Worldwide have formed a partnership agreement with Fathom, creator of the online learning destination, for content and course development in the area of History.

The BBC and Fathom will co-produce and deliver an online history seminar with Columbia University. Fathom will also enter into a content alliance and marketing relationship with BBC History Magazine.

Fathom, BBC, and Columbia University (a founding member of Fathom), will create and distribute an on-line seminar based on Columbia University Professor Simon Schamas popular History of Britain BBC book and television series. The seminar will provide in-depth material on themes introduced in a key episode in the series covering the American War of Independence and the Atlantic slave trade. The seminar will be available for a fee at in the spring of 2001.

By harnessing the power of the Internet we can bring history to life for new

audiences worldwide. This new partnership will create new opportunities for us to develop the learning potential in our programmes and products, said Michael Stevenson, Joint Director, BBC Factual and Learning.

The seminar offers viewers of the BBC series, as well as newcomers to the subject matter, the chance to delve deeply into the historical material and to control the timing and pace of their exploration, added Simon Schama.

Jonathan Cole, Provost of Columbia University added: Columbia is excited to create a unique learning experience with the BBC as well as to work with Fathom to deliver the seminar to an international audience.

Those who are interested in being notified when the seminar opens for enrollment can indicate their interest at on the home page.

In addition, Fathom has entered a content alliance and co-marketing agreement with BBC History Magazine—the UKs best-selling general history publication—in which the two organisations will share content and Fathom will sell subscriptions to the magazine on its website. Quality, authenticated material from Fathoms members, the worlds leading universities, museums, libraries, publishers and research institutions, will enhance BBC History Magazines offerings, whilst the rich, educational content of the magazine will add to Fathoms growing history content.

BBC History Magazine and Fathom can now introduce their respective audiences to new ways of accessing quality knowledge content. Our new alliance will allow more people to enjoy history and take their interest further, said Sue Kerr, publisher of BBC History Magazine.

We are delighted to be working with the BBC, one of the best-known and most distinguished media companies in the world. The BBCs tradition of exploring the creation of quality content through television, radio, and publishing now extends to e-learning, said Ann Kirschner, Fathom CEO. In addition, our BBC relationships will draw a worldwide audience to Fathom and will demonstrate our ability to work with a range of media in creating a unique learning experience on the Internet.

BBC Worldwide Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting

Corporation (BBC) formed in 1994 to develop a coordinated approach to the BBCs commercial activities and to ensure the BBC continues to develop as a leading player in the world media market. BBC Worldwide is the UKs biggest seller of childrens media-based products; the worlds biggest television channel operator based outside the US; Europes biggest exporter of television programming; the UKs third largest publisher of consumer magazines; and the leading spoken word audio publisher in the UK BBC History Magazine was launched in April 2000.

Fathom ( is the leading source for online learning for professional development and lifelong learning. Fathom brings together lectures, interviews, articles, and exhibits by faculty and experts from some of the world’s leading universities, libraries, museums, and disseminators of research. Online courses and seminars representing the best in online education are available through Fathom, as well as books and other products. Unique reference content spans all disciplines and fields of study. Fathom’s member institutions include Columbia University, London School of Economics and Political Science, Cambridge University Press, The British Library, The New York Public Library, The University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, American Film Institute (AFI), RAND, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum (UK), and The Natural History Museum (UK).


Mary Collins

BBC Worldwide


Anne Rollow


212-279-9494 x1001

Lauren Marshall

Columbia University