Science and History Top The Charts at The Great Courses Plus

NEW Video Learning Service Expands to 5,000 Lectures from the World’s Greatest Professors

CHANTILLY, Va.--()--A new category in American entertainment has emerged: “What people are learning.”

Since 1936 when Billboard published the first music hit parade, the charts have reported and helped shape how people spend their time. From hit songs to blockbuster movies, consumers want to know what’s popular so they can share the same experience. The Great Courses has discovered the same phenomenon with lifelong learning.

“It’s anytime, anywhere learning, and as much as you want – so we’re tracking what members are viewing to deliver them more of it,” said Ed Leon, Chief Brand Officer at The Great Courses, now celebrating its 25th year. “This is an entirely new audience that doesn’t just binge watch, they binge learn. They’re demanding a diverse array of subjects at their fingertips.”

Science and history lead the first “What America is Learning Charts” from The Great Courses Plus ( The learning-on-demand platform, which officially launches nationally today, features world-class professors presenting engaging, in-depth video lessons on thousands of subjects.

Members get unlimited access to lectures online, via connected television or mobile devices for a monthly subscription fee. The Great Courses Plus had been undergoing invitation-only testing since early August.

The top 10 subjects across millions of video views were:

  1. Science (25 percent of the total minutes streamed for all lectures)
  2. History (20.6 percent)
  3. Philosophy, Religion & Intellectual History (8.6 percent)
  4. Professional & Personal Development (8.4 percent)
  5. Literature & Language (6.3 percent)
  6. Music & Fine Arts (6.2 percent)
  7. Travel (5.8 percent)
  8. Mathematics (5 percent)
  9. Food & Wine (4.3 percent)
  10. Health, Fitness & Nutrition (3.9 percent)

The most popular individual lectures reveal a wide range of interests, which The Great Courses Plus believes typifies their new generation of information-hungry customers. The top ten were:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Foundations – The basics of cognitive behavioral therapy for training your brain to increase motivation, manage emotions, and improve interpersonal skills
  2. Making Great Pictures – Study of what makes a photo iconic from National Geographic’s “Fundamentals of Photography”
  3. History’s Mysteries – How science solved concepts that were once unexplainable, hosted by Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  4. Quantified Self-Assessment for Therapy – Setting SMART goals for personal improvement
  5. Pronouncing Classical Latin – Admiring the beauty and history of Latin
  6. Rome: The Eternal City – A journey along the Tiber River from Smithsonian’s “The Essential Guide to Italy”
  7. Music as a Mirror – Themes, concepts and terminology for how to listen to and understand great music
  8. Mastering Rubik’s Cube – Step-by-step method for solving this mind-bending puzzle
  9. Ramesses II: Heartbeat of History – On the battlefield with the Egyptian Pharaoh from “Living History: Experiencing Great Events of the Ancient & Medieval Worlds”
  10. Cooking – Ingredients, Technique, and Flavor – The science of taste with The Culinary Institute of America from “The Everyday Gourmet; Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking”

Three hundred new lectures were recently added, and the knowledge offerings continue to grow each month. Select courses are produced in partnerships with The Culinary Institute of America, National Geographic and Smithsonian.

Video series from The Great Courses have typically sold for hundreds of dollars on DVD. The Great Courses Plus video streaming service offers full access to more than 5,000 lectures. New members can sample the service without risk for 30 days with a one-month free trial. After that, plans start as low as $29.99 with a yearly subscription. Unlike other streaming services that merely aggregate content, The Great Courses Plus features all originally produced content, and there are no plans to remove lecture series as long as they remain relevant to members.

The most popular method to access the new streaming service so far has been through an internet browser (65 percent of users), followed by apps on iPhone and iPad (17 percent), Roku (15 percent), Android and Kindle Fire. Among the most frequent requests from beta users: Access for Apple TV and Fire TV, and an audio-only option. The additions are in the works for the second half of next year as The Great Courses Plus continues to expand.

The Great Courses, which services millions of lifelong learners, has delivered more than 19 million courses since 1990 via CDs, DVDs, digital downloads and streaming apps. Each year the company hones its staging, graphics and animation, always aimed at igniting the minds and imaginations of its customers. The result is a global community of lifelong learners who include noted business and political leaders worldwide.

About The Great Courses

The Great Courses is the nation’s leading developer and marketer of premium-quality media for lifelong learning and personal enrichment. Delivered in engaging, expertly produced video and audio (in convenient online, digital, video on demand and disc formats), these carefully crafted courses provide access to a world of knowledge from the most accomplished professors and experts. The content-rich, proprietary library spans more than 550 series with more than 14,000 lectures designed to expand horizons, deepen understanding, and foster epiphanies in the arts, science, literature, self-improvement, history, music, philosophy, theology, economics, mathematics, business, professional advancement, and personal development. Creating unique learning experiences since 1990, The Great Courses is the premier brand of The Teaching Company Sales, LLC of Chantilly, Virginia, which is owned by Los Angeles-based Brentwood Associates. More information can be found at


Olmstead Williams
Roxanna Eke, 310-824-9000

Release Summary

The learning-on-demand platform, which officially launches nationally today, features world-class professors presenting engaging, in-depth video lessons on thousands of subjects.


Olmstead Williams
Roxanna Eke, 310-824-9000