From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell
a blue circle with white and green lines on it, surrounded by lighter blue halos
Kurzgesagt's logo, a minimalist representation of Earth
FounderPhilipp Dettmer
TypePrivately held company
PurposeAnimation studio
OwnerPhilipp Dettmer
Staff (2021)
YouTube information
Years active2013–present
  • Animation
  • Education
  • Science
  • Philosophy
Subscribers14.2 million[2]
Total views1.28 billion[2]
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2014
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2015
YouTube Diamond Play Button.svg 10,000,000 subscribers 2019

Updated: March 09, 2021

Kurzgesagt (/ˌkʊərtsɡəˈzɑːkt/; German for "In a nutshell") is a German animation studio founded by Philipp Dettmer. The studio's YouTube channel focuses on minimalist animated educational content, using the flat design style.[1] It discusses scientific, technological, political, philosophical and psychological subjects.[3] Narrated by Steve Taylor, videos on the channel are typically 4–16 minutes in length, with many of them available in German through the channel Dinge Erklärt – Kurzgesagt.

Aside from their German channel, they began creating videos for their Spanish channel En Pocas Palabras – Kurzgesagt near the end of 2019.[4] While their English channel mostly finances itself with donations from their viewers and individual sponsorships, the German channel is financially supported by Funk, the online presence of German public broadcasting, and the Spanish channel is sponsored by Wix,[4] in addition to a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

With over 14 million subscribers,[5] the studio's English channel was ranked as the world's 428th (noxinfluencer.com) or 430th (socialblade.com) most subscribed as of February 6, 2021.[6][7]


The channel's name derives from the German kurz-gesagt (IPA: [ˈkʊɐ̯ts gəˈzaːkt]),[8] which, when taken literally, translates to "shortly said". The English equivalent of this phrase would translate to 'in a few words' or 'in a nutshell', the latter being used as an English subtitle for the channel's name.[9]


Patrizia Mosca, Chief operating officer at Kurzgesagt, speaks at the Internet Days in Stockholm, 2018.

The Kurzgesagt YouTube channel was created on July 9, 2013, shortly after the founder, Philipp Dettmer, graduated from Munich University of Applied Sciences.[10] The first video, which explained evolution, was published two days later. The videos were more popular than expected, and in six years the channel went from a project worked on during Dettmer's free time to a design studio with over forty employees.[1]

In its earlier years, Kurzgesagt amassed some criticism for its research standards and lack of review from experts before publication.[11] From 2019 onward, though, Kurzgesagt has been considered generally reliable.[8][12] The studio has even received commissions and grants from a number of established, independent institutions.

In 2015, Kurzgesagt was commissioned to create a video on the end of disease by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.[13] Kurzgesagt did commissions for the foundation following this, including on videos about motherhood mortality.[14] On multiple occasions, Kurzgesagt has also collaborated with Our World in Data. Videos the channel has created in collaboration with Our World in Data include one about selfish motivators for altruism, another about the COVID-19 pandemic, and two about climate change.

This video about the COVID-19 pandemic, released in March of 2020, was posted on all three of their channels and shared how the human body responds to COVID-19 and how effective the measures in evading SARS-CoV-2 are.[15] Kurzgesagt's video was released early into the COVID-19 pandemic, and provided accessible, clear, and trustworthy information about the virus and necessary preventative measures. The English version has over 29 million views, making it the most viewed video on the channel.[16] The German version has been viewed around a million times, and the Spanish version has 285 thousand views.

Outside of the grants from patrons, Kurzgesagt, at least the German branch, has been primarily financially supported by the network Funk of ARD and ZDF since September 28, 2017.[17][18][19] In addition, Kurzgesagt's Spanish branch is sponsored by Wix, but the studio's English branch is supported solely by advertisements through YouTube, donations from viewers, and their grants and individual sponsorships.[4][20]

Kurzgesagt has been the recipient of several awards. In 2019, Kurzgesagt became the first German channel to surpass 10 million subscribers on YouTube.[21] In December 2020, fellow YouTuber Marques Brownlee honored Kurzgesagt, with his "Streamys Creator Honor" award in the 10th Streamy Awards.[22]


While Kurzgesagt is generally considered fairly reliable, it has not been without its share of criticism, especially with regards to the studio's earlier content. In 2016, the Art Libraries Society of North America criticized the studio's occasional lack of credible sources and professional consultation and use of emotive, subjective language.[11] The most notable criticism of Kurzgesagt was aimed at a video they released in 2015. This video, titled "Addiction", misleadingly summarized the conclusions of the contentious Rat Park experiments. A collaboration between Kurzgesagt and journalist Johann Hari, it came to be one of the most popular on their channel at the time, despite also being one of Kurzgesagt's most widely criticized.[23]

In 2019, the YouTuber Coffee Break criticized this video for providing misinformation due to oversimplification of the subject matter. Coffee Break drew a parallel between "Addiction" and Hari's TED Talk "Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong", calling the former an "adaptation" of the latter. Hari’s TED Talk suffered from inaccuracies due to it attempting to compress some of the major points of Hari's book Chasing the Scream into under 15 minutes. Both videos poorly represent the book by seeming to support the thesis that addiction is purely psychological in origin, which Hari later clarified was inaccurate and polarizing. Coffee Break then went on to accuse Kurzgesagt of never even having read Hari's book, and asserted that the group could not be trusted to provide accurate, unbiased information.[24]

On March 3, 2019, Kurzgesagt deleted "Addiction", acknowledging in an accompanying video that it "was based on only one source that has amassed a lot of criticism over the years".[8] Dettmer responded to more of Coffee Break's accusations later that month. He refuted that he had never read Hari's book, explaining it was the reason he decided to make the video. Dettmer also explained the similarities between "Addiction" and Hari's TED Talk were due to the fact Hari "wrote most of the script".[23] Kurzgesagt asserted that the standards it holds itself to have improved since the studio's earlier years, and that their newer videos are always fact-checked by experts and published with a list of sources. In April 2019, Coffee Break apologized publicly and to Dettmer for the more accusatory and defamatory claims he made about Kurzgesagt's integrity, explaining his video was a "toxic" way to handle the issue.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "About". Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell". YouTube. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  3. ^ Bauman, Kat (May 9, 2014). "From the Super Adorable Science Files: Videos by Kurzgesagt". Core 77. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "How to Make a Kurzgesagt Video in 1200 Hours". YouTube. February 16, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  5. ^ "Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell - YouTube". www.youtube.com.
  6. ^ "Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell YouTube Channel Analytics and Report". noxinfluencer.com. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  7. ^ "kurzgesagt YouTube Stats, Channel Statistics". socialblade.com. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Can You Trust Kurzgesagt Videos?, retrieved March 10, 2021
  9. ^ Holgate, Matilda (2020). "5 YouTube channels to keep you learning". University of Canberra. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  10. ^ "Youtube: Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell knackt als erster deutscher Kanal die 10-Millionen-Marke". t3n.de (in German). Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Gumb, Lindsey (April 2016). "Multimedia Technology Review — Kurzgesagt". Art Libraries Society of North America.
  12. ^ "What We're Watching: Kurzgesagt Explores Big Questions with Bite-Size Videos – Review Geek". www.reviewgeek.com. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  13. ^ "OPP1139276". www.gatesfoundation.org. January 1, 2001. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  14. ^ "Kurzgesagt". facebook.com. Retrieved July 27, 2017.[non-primary source needed]
  15. ^ "A Look at How the Virus that Causes COVID-19 Infects People". Nerdist.
  16. ^ "Video explainer on the coronavirus has more than 17.5 million views". CochraneToday.ca.
  17. ^ Germany, Braunschweiger Zeitung, Braunschweig (November 18, 2020). "funk-Format "Kurzgesagt" fragt: "Brauchen wir Atomkraft, um den Klimawandel zu stoppen?"". www.braunschweiger-zeitung.de (in German). Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  18. ^ "Acht Minuten Welterklärung - brand eins online". www.brandeins.de. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  19. ^ "So hat Kurzgesagt-Gründer Philipp Dettmer mit Erklärvideos eine Milliarde Views gemacht". Daily (in German). June 17, 2020. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  20. ^ "How Much Money Does In A Nutshell Kurzgesagt Make On YouTube". Naibuzz. March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  21. ^ Weil, Andrew (December 5, 2019). "YouTube's 2019 Rewind focuses on the basics after 2018 video fiasco". Wusa9. Retrieved February 27, 2020.
  22. ^ Hale, James (December 12, 2020). "Here Are Your 2020 Streamy Award Winners". Tubefilter.
  23. ^ a b Stenn, Lili (March 14, 2019). "YouTuber Coffee Break Accuses Kurzgesagt of Being Untrustworthy, Founder Responds". Rogue Rocket. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  24. ^ Trust - In A Nutshell [deleted], retrieved March 10, 2021
  25. ^ Getting It Wrong, retrieved March 10, 2021

External links[edit]