Leading Learning Company Pearson Teams with Zuora to Launch Digital Service, Create New Monetization Strategy In Less Than 30 Days

October 10, 2014

Global publisher quickly uses Zuora to change the media publishing model by opening content to third-party developers

London, United Kingdom — February 23, 2012


  • Zuora, the subscription commerce, billing, and payments leader, today announced that Pearson, the world’s leading learning company and owner of the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group, is using Zuora’s subscription commerce platform to change the traditional publishing model, opening it to third-party development. Pearson is using Zuora to open up its content and create not only new monetization streams but a new business, adaptable, digitized model. Working with Zuora, Pearson was able to launch this new initiative in less than 30 days.
  • Pearson Plug & Play, a platform initiative by Pearson at developer.pearson.com, invites developers to create new ways to use, display, and blend the company’s award-winning content. The launch of the Plug & Play Platform is part of a wider Pearson initiative to work with developers to explore new and innovative offerings while digitizing more of their overall publishing model, a goal the company committed to in its 2011 Annual Report.
  • Enabling a rapid launch of the Pearson Plug & Play initiative, Zuora has helped Pearson become one of the first publishers of its scope to harness the creativity of third-party developers to drive new market and revenue opportunities around its content.

Monetizing new developer relationships

  • As new technologies, business models, and market dynamics transform the publishing industry, publishers’ success depends on their ability to create new kinds of value around their content. Pearson Plug & Play gives third-party developers access to the company’s award-winning content to build new experiences around data from Pearson properties such as FT Press, The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, and Dorling Kindersley (DK) Eyewitness Guides. In addition to opening new revenue streams through the fees these developers pay, the initiative helps Pearson showcase the value of its content and form new business relationships to drive further innovation.
  • With Pearson Plug & Play, the company came up with a new way to charge for its content that fit more with how developers work. After exploring Pearson content in an isolated testing environment, developers can call on the API for each dataset free of charge up to a set threshold of quantity, after which they are charged on a pre-payment basis according to usage.
  • The non-standard payment model for Pearson Plug & Play would have been complex to implement via a traditional ERP system. Adding to the challenge was the need to work quickly to meet aggressive time-to-market goals—and do so with a small project team. The company needed a technology platform designed explicitly to monetize recurring, usage-based relationships on a flexible, customer-by-customer basis with optimal efficiency and agility. Zuora could meet all its needs and today provides the subscription commerce platform Pearson was looking for.

Speeding time to market with complete commerce capabilities

  • Zuora helped Pearson brings its Plug & Play initiative to market quickly. Developers can easily choose the Pearson content they want to work with, begin work for free, then convert to paid customers once their activity has reached the specified threshold—all through a seamless process that minimizes back-end work for Pearson.
  • Zuora integrates directly with both Plug & Play at developer.pearson.com and the company’s existing payment gateway, capturing credit card details from the developer application form, managing billing and payments, and producing customized reports for reconciliation and business analysis. Developers can edit their payment details in the account management section of developer.pearson.com themselves for convenient and efficient self-service.


  • “As the world of information changes and new models emerge, Pearson is leading the publishing industry’s move to digital by opening our content to the innovation and creativity of the global developer community,” said Diana Stepner, Head of Future Technologies, Pearson PLC. “Zuora provided both the flexible subscription commerce technology and the expertise we needed to get the financial aspects of Pearson Plug & Play up and running at lightning speed, enabling us to connect people with content in new, exciting, and valuable ways.”
  • “The publishing industry needs to reinvent itself,” said Shawn Price, President of Zuora. “With its Plug & Play initiative, Pearson is harnessing the creativity of developers around the world to drive new value for its business, showing what’s possible when publishers move beyond previous thinking and systems. With a powerful platform like Zuora for its billing, Pearson can continue to innovate at record pace.”

About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s leading learning company, providing consumer publishing through the DK brand, educational materials and services, and business information through the Financial Times Group. Pearson serves learners of all ages around the globe, employing 36,000 people in more than 70 countries, and is listed on the London and New York stock exchanges. For more information, visit www.pearson.com.

About Zuora, Inc.

Zuora is the global leader in subscription commerce and billing, helping companies in every industry transition to the Subscription Economy. Enterprise leaders and high-growth companies alike use Zuora’s multi-tenant cloud platform to launch, scale, and monetize their subscription services. Zuora’s applications help subscription businesses with pricing, quoting, orders, billing, payments, and renewals. Built from the ground up by SaaS industry veterans from Salesforce.com, PayPal, and WebEx, Zuora services innovative customers like Informatica, Tata Communications, Box.net, Ning, Xplornet, Ustream and Reed Business Information. To learn more about Zuora, please visit zuorainternprd.wpengine.com.