|Formation||July 9, 2013|
|Type||Privately held company|
|Total views||1.9 billion|
Updated: May 21, 2022
Kurzgesagt (//; German for "In a nutshell") is a German-made animation and design studio founded by Philipp Dettmer. The studio's YouTube channel focuses on minimalist animated educational content, using the flat design style. It discusses scientific, technological, political, philosophical and psychological subjects. 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 in 2019. 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, in addition to a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2022, channels in French, Hindi, Japanese, Portuguese, Arabic and Korean were also started.
With over 18 million subscribers and over 150 videos, the studio's English channel was ranked as the world's 338th most subscribed as of May 22, 2022.
The channel's name derives from the German kurz-gesagt (IPA: [ˈkʊɐ̯ts gəˈzaːkt]), 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.
The Kurzgesagt YouTube channel was created on July 10, 2013, shortly after the founder, Philipp Dettmer, graduated from Munich University of Applied Sciences. 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. 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. 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. Kurzgesagt has also collaborated with Curiosity Stream for their ant series.
This video about the COVID-19 pandemic, released in March 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. 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 87 million views, making it the most viewed video on the channel. The German version has 1.6 million views, and the Spanish version has 790 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. 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.
Kurzgesagt has been the recipient of several awards. In 2019, Kurzgesagt became the first German channel to surpass 10 million subscribers on YouTube. In December 2020, fellow YouTuber Marques Brownlee honored Kurzgesagt, with his "Streamys Creator Honor" award in the 10th Streamy Awards.
Reliability of videos
While Kurzgesagt's videos are praised for their reliability and fact-checking, some of their earlier work received criticism. 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 language. In 2019, Kurzgesagt released a video saying that while they now had all their arguments fact-checked by experts, they had not always done so in the past. They added they were deleting two of their videos from 2015 that failed their current standards, including their video titled "Addiction". A collaboration between Kurzgesagt and journalist Johann Hari, "Addiction" came to be one of the most popular on their channel at the time, despite also being one of their most criticized. The video was accused of misleadingly summarizing the conclusions of the contentious Rat Park experiments; Kurzgesagt acknowledged they had presented one argument as fact, and had not considered other theories on the matter.
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