StoryBots

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StoryBots
Created by
  • Evan Spiridellis
  • Gregg Spiridellis
Owner
Years2012–present
Films and television
Animated seriesAsk the StoryBots, StoryBots Super Songs, Storybots: Answer Time, Storybots: Super Silly Stories with Bo
Television special(s)A StoryBots Christmas
Television short(s)StoryBots
Official website
www.storybots.com

StoryBots is an American children's media franchise including an educational TV series, books, videos, music, games, classroom activities,[1] and the Netflix series Ask the StoryBots, StoryBots: Answer Time, StoryBots: Super Silly Stories with Bo, and StoryBots: Super Songs.[2]

After launching online – and gaining more than 620 million views on YouTube[3] — StoryBots launched its first television series on the streaming service Netflix in 2016. Now in its third season, 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. They also spawned a companion show, StoryBots Super Songs, and a holiday special, A StoryBots Christmas.[4]

Created by the entertainment studio JibJab, the brand later became part of StoryBots, Inc., an independent production company. StoryBots Inc. (along with the StoryBots brand) was 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 original TV series Ask the StoryBots premiered on Netflix on August 12, 2016. The show follows the StoryBots characters of Beep, Bing, Bang, Boop, and Bo (a.k.a. "Answer Team 341B"), and stars Judy Greer. Answer Team 341B goes on adventures into the human world to help answer kids' biggest questions. 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.[16][17] 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 was released worldwide on Netflix on August 2, 2019, and includes guest appearances from John Legend, Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Garner, Jason Sudeikis, Alyssa Milano, Tony Hale, Maria Bamford, and Reggie Watts.[15] A trailer for the new episodes was released on YouTube ahead of the season launch.[18] All three season's music soundtracks are available on most music streaming services.

Spinoffs[edit]

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 focus on broader topics, such as outer space, colors, shapes, and dinosaurs, through music and live-action vignettes with real children.[19] Episodes have also been released on StoryBots' YouTube channel.[20]

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.

A new series called StoryBots: Answer Time premiered on Netflix on November 21, 2022, and includes guest appearances from Danny DeVito, Zooey Deschanel, Common, Sophie Turner, Kevin Smith, Anne Hathaway, Chrissy Teigen, Patton Oswalt, Gabriel Iglesias, and Craig Robinson. A second season of this show premiered on Netflix on July 10, 2023, and includes guest appearances from Rainn Wilson, Josh Gad, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Scarlett Johansson, Gabrielle Union, Joe Lo Truglio, Steve Buscemi, Kristen Bell, Simu Liu, Julie Bowen, Trevor Noah, and Jessica Alba.

Another spin-off series called StoryBots: Super Silly Stories with Bo [21] premiered on Netflix's YouTube channel on June 26, 2022.[22] The series consisted of 4 seasons, with a total of 26 shortform episodes (approximately 4-6 minutes in length), and 4 longform episodes (approximately 22-44 minutes in length). [23] Directed, Co-Written and Edited by Henry Dalton, this series differed from Ask The StoryBots and StoryBots: Answer Time in being comedy-led rather than centering around a child's question to be answered, focusing on a single StoryBot, 'Bo', and featuring much more interaction from the unscripted live-action children from around the world, as they interrupted and caused chaos in Bo the StoryBot's attempt to read them a rhyming story - with often surreal results. [24] The series was nominated for two Kidscreen Awards (including 'Best Mixed-Media Series (6-10 Years)), and winning one, 'Best Web/App Series - Branded (6-10 Years)'.[25] The series has yet to become available on the main Netflix streaming platform. [26]

Digital library[edit]

StoryBots has created a collection of web-based learning content and activities available at StoryBots' official website. 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 themes, 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,[27] 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 classroom management tools including the Backpack and Class Roster.[27] The product is designed for use on laptops, tablets, and interactive white boards.[28] When it was released, StoryBots Classroom was by profiled by Education Week[29] and was named an S'Cool Tool of the Week by EdSurge.[30] 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".[31]

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.[32]

In 2018, StoryBots signed with the DHX Media-owned WildBrain to manage and grow its YouTube channel.[33]

In January 2019, the channel rebranded itself as Netflix Jr. to coincide with the buyout of StoryBots by Netflix.

Print books[edit]

In addition to its ebooks available on its website, StoryBots also offers several print books published by Random House Children's Books featuring the StoryBots characters.[34] Titles include:

  • The Amazing Planet Earth (Step Into Reading)[35]
  • Cars Are Cool[36]
  • The Moon's Time To Shine (Step Into Reading)[37]
  • StoryBots ABC Jamboree[38]
  • Trucks Are Terrific[39]
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex (Step Into Reading)[40]

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.[41]

For its television work including Ask the StoryBots, A StoryBots Christmas, StoryBots: Answer Time, StoryBots: Super Silly Stories with Bo', and StoryBots Super Songs, 'StoryBots has won nine Daytime Emmy Awards (with thirty additional nominations), an Annie Award, and a Kidscreen Award, as well as recognition from the British Academy Children's Awards and Peabody Awards.

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result
2024 Kidscreen Awards Best Web/App Series - Branded (6-10 Years) StoryBots: Super Silly Stories with Bo Won
Best Mixed-Media Series (6-10 Years) StoryBots: Super Silly Stories with Bo Nominated
Annie Awards Best Animated Television/Media Production for Preschool Children StoryBots: Answer Time Nominated
2023 Children's & Family Emmy Awards Outstanding Preschool Animated Series StoryBots: Answer Time Won
Outstanding Writing for a Preschool Animated Program StoryBots: Answer Time Won
Outstanding Voice Performance in a Preschool Program StoryBots: Answer Time Erin Fitzgerald Nominated
Outstanding Voice Performance in a Preschool Program StoryBots: Answer Time Fred Tatasciore Nominated
Outstanding Editing for a Preschool Animated Program StoryBots: Answer Time Nominated
Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in a Television/Media Production StoryBots: Answer Time Henrique Baron Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Television/Media Production StoryBots: Answer Time Fred Tatasciore Nominated
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. ^ "StoryBots". Online Tools for Teaching & Learning. University of Massachusetts Amherst. Retrieved 15 November 2023.
  2. ^ Barrett, Brian. "Parents, Rejoice! Here Are Netflix's Kid-Friendly August Additions". Wired. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  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. 9 May 2019. 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 (4 October 2012). "JibJab Brothers Create StoryBots Entertainment for Kids". Mashable. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  11. ^ Graser, Marc (27 September 2012). "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. 9 May 2019. 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. ^ Ask the StoryBots on Netflix | Season 3 Trailer | Premieres August 2nd Worldwide, retrieved 2019-07-30
  19. ^ "They're Back! All-New StoryBots TV Series Premieres Today". StoryBots Blog. 2016-10-07. Archived from the original on 2016-10-19. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  20. ^ "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  21. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt22027070/reference/
  22. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt22027070/episodes/
  23. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt22027070/episodes/
  24. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgsrtz4NjKE&t=1432s
  25. ^ https://awards.kidscreen.com/Winners/Winner/2024
  26. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgsrtz4NjKE&t=1415s
  27. ^ a b "StoryBots Launches Groundbreaking Product for Kindergarten Classrooms – and It's Free for Teachers". Marketwired.com. 9 February 2016.
  28. ^ Bolkan, Joshua (9 February 2016). "StoryBots Adds Free Videos, Activities for Whiteboards, Tablets". THE Journal.
  29. ^ Lynch, Matthew (10 February 2016). "How Teachers Can Use Education Technology to Boost Engagement". Education Week. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  30. ^ "S'Cool Tools of the Week: GooseChase, OneVote, StoryBots Classroom, FlipQuiz (EdSurge News)". EdSurge. 2016-02-14. Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  31. ^ victorrivero (2016-04-25). "Making Good Humans". edtechdigest.com. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  32. ^ "Animation". The Webby Awards.
  33. ^ "WildBrain adds StoryBots to YouTube portfolio". Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  34. ^ "StoryBots Books". Random House Children's Books. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  35. ^ Emmons, Scott (2017). The Amazing Planet Earth. New York: Random House. ISBN 9781524718572. OCLC 970031545.
  36. ^ Emmons, Scott (2017). Cars are Cool!. New York: Random House. ISBN 9781524718237. OCLC 961155983.
  37. ^ Emmons, Scott (December 2018). The Moon's Time to Shine. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780525646112. OCLC 1065307487.
  38. ^ Emmons, Scott (2018). ABC Jamboree (1 ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 9781524718695. OCLC 1018454665.
  39. ^ Emmons, Scott (2017). Trucks are Terrific!. New York: Random House. ISBN 9781524718251. OCLC 961155984.
  40. ^ Emmons, Scott (2017). Tyrannosaurus Rex. New York: Random House. ISBN 9781524718664. OCLC 970025611.
  41. ^ "StoryBots Tap & Sing | Children's Technology Review". childrenstech.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-23. Retrieved 2016-06-06.

External links[edit]