StoryBots

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StoryBots
Current logo of educational entertainment brand StoryBots.png
Created byEvan Spiridellis, Gregg Spiridellis
OwnerNetflix
Films and television
Animated seriesAsk the StoryBots, StoryBots Super Songs
Television special(s)A StoryBots Christmas
Television short(s)StoryBots
Official website
www.storybots.com

StoryBots is a children's educational media franchise best known for the Netflix series Ask the StoryBots. The StoryBots library includes educational TV series, books, videos, music, games and classroom activities designed to make foundational learning fun and encourage intellectual curiosity in children ages 3-to-8.[1] Subjects cover a wide range of topics and feature a cast of characters called the StoryBots, who are tiny, colorful creatures who live within our computers, tablets and phones and help humans answer questions.[2]

After launching primarily online - and amassing more than 620 million views on YouTube[3] - StoryBots launched its first television series on Netflix in 2016. Ask the StoryBots has won multiple Daytime Emmy Awards and an Annie Award, along with recognition from the Peabody Awards and British Academy Children's Awards, while also spawning a companion show, StoryBots Super Songs, and a holiday special, A StoryBots Christmas.[4]

Originally created by the entertainment studio JibJab, the brand later became part of StoryBots, Inc., an independent production company, before being acquired by Netflix in May 2019 as part of an overall push by the streaming service into more educational and family-oriented content.[5][6]

History[edit]

StoryBots launched to the public in the fall of 2012, and has been featured on CNN,[7] The New York Times,[8] CNBC,[9] and other news outlets.[10][11][12][13] Gregg Spiridellis, co-founder and CEO of StoryBots, told CNBC in 2013 that he and his brother have five young children between them and noticed "a massive shift in how kids are consuming media."[9] Spiridellis says that became the inspiration for StoryBots, with digital content designed to be akin to Sesame Street but for a device-centric, connected generation of children.[14]

In May 2019, Netflix announced that it had acquired the StoryBots media franchise and signed co-creators Evan and Gregg Spiridellis to an exclusive producing deal. The acquisition was the first of its kind for Netflix and was part of a stated commitment to expand its educational content.[15]

Television programming[edit]

The StoryBots franchise's inaugural original TV series, Ask the StoryBots, premiered on Netflix on August 12, 2016. The show follows the StoryBots characters of Beep, Boop, Bing, Bang and Bo (a.k.a. "Answer Team 341B") as they go on adventures into the human world to help answer kids' biggest questions, and stars Judy Greer. The first season featured guest appearances from Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Kevin Smith, Garfunkel and Oates, Tim Meadows and Chris Parnell. Ask the StoryBots received critical acclaim for its educational quality and entertainment value for both parents and children. A second season premiered on Netflix on August 24, 2018, and featured guest appearances from Snoop Dogg, Edward Norton, Christina Applegate, Wanda Sykes, David Cross, Ali Wong, Kristen Schaal, and David Koechner. A third season is scheduled to be released in fall 2019.[15]

Both seasons spawned music soundtracks available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and Amazon.com. The show has been called the "best kids' show on Netflix" by both Wired[16] and Decider.[17] Ask the StoryBots has received several accolades and award nominations, including recognition from the Daytime Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards, Annie Awards and British Academy Children's Awards.

A companion series, StoryBots Super Songs, premiered on October 7, 2016, also on Netflix. While each episode of Ask the StoryBots featured the lead characters answering a child's single question, StoryBots Super Songs focuses on broader topics, such as outer space, colors, shapes and dinosaurs, through music and live-action vignettes with real children.[18] Episodes have also been released on StoryBots' YouTube channel.[19]

Ask the StoryBots also spun-off a holiday special, A StoryBots Christmas, which premiered December 1, 2017, on Netflix. Featuring a guest appearance by Ed Asner as Santa Claus, the special received two Daytime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Special Class Animated Program, as well as four additional nominations.

Digital library[edit]

StoryBots pairs educators and learning experts with a team of artists, storytellers and technologists to build a robust library of web-based learning content and activities available at StoryBots' official website.[20] The StoryBots website was nominated for best youth website at the 2018 Webby Awards.

The digital library includes:

  • Learning Videos, a collection of animated musical videos that explore a wide range of topics, including shapes, colors, behaviors, time, eating healthy and outer space
  • Starring You Videos, animated learning music videos that allow the user to add their name and face photo
  • Learning Books, educationally-focused ebooks with narration to help kids practice their reading and learn about a range of subjects
  • Starring You Books, ebooks ranging from classic fairytales to modern adventures that also include face and name personalization (making the user the hero of the story)
  • Activity Sheets, printable books on holidays, numbers, letters, seasons and more
  • Math Games,[1] Common Core-aligned kindergarten-level math games

StoryBots Classroom[edit]

In 2016, StoryBots launched StoryBots Classroom, a free web-based resource for educators that includes unlimited access to the entire StoryBots library of digital books, videos and activities, as well as the newly created Common Core State Standards Initiative-aligned Math Games, and a suite of classroom management tools including the Backpack and Class Roster.[1] The product is designed for use on laptops, tablets and interactive white boards.[21] When it was released, StoryBots Classroom was by profiled by Education Week[22] and was named a S'Cool Tool of the Week by EdSurge.[23] It has since received the Teachers' Choice Award and the Tech Edvocate Award for best early childhood education app or tool.

In an interview, CEO Gregg Spiridellis cited significant interest in StoryBots by teachers as the impetus to "invest more in building a product custom-tailored for classroom use, with an emphasis on interactive projection boards, classroom tools and more educational content."[20]

YouTube channel[edit]

StoryBots first uploaded five videos to YouTube in June 2012. StoryBots was also nominated for a 2019 Webby Award in the Video Series & Channels – Animation category.[24]

In 2018, StoryBots signed with the DHX Media-owned WildBrain to manage and grow its YouTube channel.[25]

Print books[edit]

In addition to its ebooks available on its website, StoryBots also offers a number of print books published by Random House Children's Books featuring the StoryBots characters.[26] Titles include:

  • The Amazing Planet Earth (Step Into Reading)[27]
  • Cars Are Cool[28]
  • The Moon's Time To Shine (Step Into Reading)[29]
  • StoryBots ABC Jamboree[30]
  • Trucks Are Terrific[31]
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex (Step Into Reading)[32]

Awards[edit]

Since its founding in 2012, StoryBots has won numerous awards for its digital content, including the Teachers' Choice Award from Learning Magazine, Parent's Choice Award, a Family Choice Award, Tech Edvocate Award, and an Editor's Choice Award from Children's Technology Review.[33]

For its television work including Ask the StoryBots and A StoryBots Christmas, StoryBots has won five Daytime Emmy Awards (with twelve additional nominations), an Annie Award, as well as recognition from the British Academy Children's Awards and Peabody Awards.

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
2019 Webby Award Video Series & Channels - Animation StoryBots on YouTube Nominated
Websites - Education StoryBots.com Nominated
Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Preschool Children's Animated Series Ask the StoryBots Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Preschool Animated Program Ask the StoryBots Won
Outstanding Directing for a Preschool Animated Program Ask the StoryBots Won
Outstanding Interactive Media for a Daytime Program StoryBots.com Nominated
Outstanding Performer in a Children's, Family Viewing or Special Class Program Edward Norton in Ask the StoryBots Nominated
Annie Award Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production For Preschool Children Ask the StoryBots Won
Directing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Ask the StoryBots Nominated
2018 Webby Award Websites - Youth StoryBots.com Nominated
Common Sense Media Common Sense Seal A StoryBots Christmas Won
Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Special Class Animated Program A StoryBots Christmas Won
Outstanding Interactive Media - Enhancement to a Daytime Program or Series StoryBots.com Nominated
Outstanding Performer in a Children's/Preschool Children's or Educational or Informational Program Ed Asner in A StoryBots Christmas Nominated
Outstanding Writing in a Preschool Animated Program A StoryBots Christmas Nominated
Outstanding Directing in a Preschool Animated Program A StoryBots Christmas Won
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Preschool Animated Program A StoryBots Christmas Nominated
Teachers' Choice Awards Teachers' Choice Awards for the Family - Supplemental Materials StoryBots.com Won
Kidscreen Awards Best Learning App - Branded StoryBots App Nominated
2017 Tech Edvocate Awards Best Early Childhood Education App or Tool StoryBots Classroom Won
British Academy Children's Awards International Ask the StoryBots Nominated
Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards Educational Series/Special Ask the StoryBots Nominated
Webby Award Mobiles Sites & Apps - Family & Kids StoryBots App Nominated
Peabody Award Children's Programming Ask the StoryBots Nominated
Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Preschool Children's Animated Program Ask the StoryBots Nominated
Outstanding Interactive Media - Enhancement to a Daytime Program or Series StoryBots App and StoryBots Classroom Won
Outstanding Directing in a Preschool Animated Program Ask the StoryBots Nominated
Outstanding Main Title and Graphic Design Ask the StoryBots Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Preschool Animated Program Ask the StoryBots Nominated
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Preschool Animated Program Ask the StoryBots Nominated
Teachers' Choice Awards Teachers' Choice Awards for the Classroom - Supplemental Materials StoryBots Classroom Won
Annie Awards Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production For Preschool Children Ask the StoryBots Nominated
2016 Common Sense Media Common Sense Seal Ask the StoryBots Won
Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards Mobile App (Educational) StoryBots App Won
2015 Parents' Choice Award Parents' Choice Award Fun Stuff StoryBots.com Won
2014 Kapi Awards Best App for Younger Children StoryBots Won
Parents' Choice Award Parents' Choice Award Recommended StoryBots.com Won
Family Choice Awards Family Choice Award StoryBots Starring You Videos Won
Interactive Media Awards Family StoryBots.com Won
2013 National Parenting Center Seal of Approval StoryBots.com Won
Parents' Choice Award Parents' Choice Award Recommended StoryBots Beep & Boop Won
Parents' Choice Award Parents' Choice Award Fun Stuff StoryBots Starring You Books Won
Parents' Choice Award Parents' Choice Award Recommended StoryBots.com Won
Parents' Choice Award Parents' Choice Award Silver Honor StoryBots Tap & Sing Won
Children's Technology Review Editors' Choice StoryBots Beep & Boop Won
Children's Technology Review Editors' Choice StoryBots Tap & Sing Won
Appy Awards Books StoryBots Starring You Books Won
Interactive Media Awards Kids StoryBots.com Won
Family Choice Awards Family Choice Award StoryBots Won
2012 Family Choice Awards Family Choice Award StoryBots Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "StoryBots Launches Groundbreaking Product for Kindergarten Classrooms - and It's Free for Teachers". Marketwired.com. 9 February 2016.
  2. ^ "TechZulu • StoryBots Brings Edutainment to Second Screens | Delighting Kids". TechZulu. 2012-10-29. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  3. ^ "StoryBots". YouTube. Retrieved 2018-07-07.
  4. ^ "Get By This Summer with a Little Help from Netflix". Netflix Media Center. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  5. ^ "'StoryBots' Creators to Expand Children's Franchise Under Netflix Overall Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  6. ^ "Netflix buys kids show producer StoryBots". Reuters. 2019-05-09. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  7. ^ "CNN". CNN.com. 30 April 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Three Noteworthy Apps for Children". New York Times. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  9. ^ a b "JibJab's Latest Venture: StoryBots". CNBC. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  10. ^ Smith, Andrea. "JibJab Brothers Create StoryBots Entertainment for Kids". Mashable. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  11. ^ Graser, Marc. "JibJab pair launch StoryBots". Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  12. ^ "Evan, Gregg Spiridellis Discuss JibJab, StoryBots". Bloomberg TV. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  13. ^ "JibJab Brothers Introduce StoryBots – An Evolution in Fun and Learning for Today's Connected Kids". Yahoo! News. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  14. ^ "Bobblehead-Loving JibJab Brothers Grow Up, Make Vids For Kids". Fast Company. 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  15. ^ a b "'StoryBots' Creators to Expand Children's Franchise Under Netflix Overall Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
  16. ^ Barrett, Brian (2018-08-24). "The Very Online History of the Best Kids' Show on Netflix". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  17. ^ "Netflix's Best Kids Show 'Ask the StoryBots' Is Back". Decider. 2018-08-25. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  18. ^ "They're Back! All-New StoryBots TV Series Premieres Today". StoryBots Blog. 2016-10-07. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  19. ^ "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  20. ^ a b victorrivero (2016-04-25). "Making Good Humans". edtechdigest.com. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  21. ^ Bolkan, Joshua (9 February 2016). "StoryBots Adds Free Videos, Activities for Whiteboards, Tablets". THE Journal.
  22. ^ Lynch, Matthew. "How Teachers Can Use Education Technology to Boost Engagement". Education Week - Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  23. ^ "S'Cool Tools of the Week: GooseChase, OneVote, StoryBots Classroom, FlipQuiz (EdSurge News)". EdSurge. 2016-02-14. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  24. ^ "Animation". The Webby Awards.
  25. ^ "WildBrain adds StoryBots to YouTube portfolio". Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  26. ^ "StoryBots Books". Random House Children's Books. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  27. ^ Emmons, Scott (2017). The Amazing Planet Earth. New York: Random House. ISBN 9781524718572. OCLC 970031545.
  28. ^ Emmons, Scott. Cars are Cool!. New York: Random House. ISBN 9781524718237. OCLC 961155983.
  29. ^ Emmons, Scott. The Moon's Time to Shine. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780525646112. OCLC 1065307487.
  30. ^ Emmons, Scott. ABC Jamboree (1 ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 9781524718695. OCLC 1018454665.
  31. ^ Emmons, Scott. Trucks are Terrific!. New York: Random House. ISBN 9781524718251. OCLC 961155984.
  32. ^ Emmons, Scott. Tyrannosaurus Rex. New York: Random House. ISBN 9781524718664. OCLC 970025611.
  33. ^ "StoryBots Tap & Sing | Children's Technology Review". childrenstech.com. Retrieved 2016-06-06.