Netflix Buys StoryBots for Kids’ Educational Programming
Could help Netflix compete with Disney+ this fall
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) announced its acquisition of StoryBots, creators of the award-winning, original Netflix series “Ask the StoryBots,” for an undisclosed sum, reports CNBC. To date, StoryBots has produced two seasons of its series with a third expected later this year. The program is currently available in 22 languages in 190 countries, says CNBC.
Once the deal closes, StoryBots will create even more educational kids’ content for Netflix. This move may help Netflix replace Disney content which will be pulled from Netflix later this year when Disney+, a direct-to-consumer streaming video subscription, launches. Netflix will have to compete with Disney content including The Simpsons, Disney originals, Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar.
“’Ask the StoryBots’ has a proven track record of synthesizing complex subjects into bite-sized lessons that are funny and entertaining for young kids and satisfying for parents,” said Melissa Cobb, vice president of original animation for Netflix. “We are thrilled to welcome Gregg and Evan into the Netflix family and look forward to building out the wonderful and whimsical StoryBots world, finding new ways to delight our growing member base of families around the world.”
StoryBots, founded by Gregg and Evan Spiridellis, the creators of JibJab, will benefit from the scalability that Netflix can offer, including reaching a broader audience and licensing and merchandising opportunities for the StoryBots brand. It can also help StoryBots become the “next generation of Sesame Street,” says CNBC. The Spiridellis brothers will work for Netflix in the animation department.
The Spiridellis brothers also commented on the deal.
“Together with Netflix, our goal is to make StoryBots the leading educational entertainment brand for connected kids and families globally. We see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring something epically good into the world,” the brothers said.
According to Variety, StoryBots started on Netflix in 2016. StoryBots uses 3D, 2D, claymation, stop motion and live action to answer kids’ questions (why is the sky blue, what makes a bird a bird, what are good carbohydrates) with guest stars like Wanda Sykes, Jay Leno, Ali Wong, Christina Applegate, Whoopi Goldberg, Edward Norton and Snoop Dog. The expanded programming will include StoryBots series and short-form content.
This is the third acquisition for Netflix, who previously purchased MillarWorld in 2017. Last year, Netflix bought ABQ Studios, a TV and film production facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico for $30 million, reports Variety.
StoryBots has been popular on Netflix as well as YouTube, attracting preschoolers, parents and teachers to the charm of these animated characters. With the acquisition, Netflix can expand StoryBots’ content catalog and provide subscribers with exclusive content which could help it retain subscribers when Disney+ launches this fall.