Gregg and Evan Spiridellis and their successful Internet enterprise JibJab are entering the kids IP market this week with the launch of their new multiplatform property StoryBots. According to Variety, the new property revolves around a cast of colorful square- and rectangular-shaped creatures that live under the screens of iPhones, iPads, computer and TV screens and aim to make learning fun for kids 2 to 6.
The Spiridellis have essentially borrowed what proved popular for JibJab’s online videos and greeting cards — the ability for viewers to become part of the onscreen action by inserting their photos onto animated characters. Over 250 million faces have so far been uploaded to JibJab. “Personalization is a huge component of ‘StoryBots,’” Gregg Spiridellis said.
Using JibJab’s Starring You technology, parents can turn their kids into characters that interact with the StoryBots through animated ebooks released as “StoryBots Starring You StoryBooks,” and musicvideos through the “StoryBots Starring You Band.” Separately, the “StoryBots ABC Jamboree” is a collection of 26 one-minute musicvids designed to help kids recognize the sounds and shapes of the letters of the alphabet. The “StoryBots Beep & Boop” iPhone app teaches good behavior. And the “StoryBots Activity Center,” on StoryBots.com, offers free downloadable activity sheets.
A new ebook will be available every month for $3.99, with additional titles available for $1.99 each. There are currently 18 “StoryBot” ebooks available, with themes ranging from pizza to princesses. The “Beep & Boop” app launched in March and, without much fanfare, it has already been downloaded 150,000 times in 89 countries.
In 2004, Venice-based JibJab began to form a huge following thanks to its clever animated election-themed shorts and songs like “This Land” and the “Elf Yourself” app for OfficeMax. The company has decided not to introduce a new parody song for this year’s election, opting instead to focus on launching StoryBots.
“Our vision for StoryBots is to build hundreds of products in the coming years that kids will love and parents can feel great about,” said Spiridellis. “We want StoryBots to be the equivalent of ‘Sesame Street’ for a connected generation.”