Netflix has acquired a children’s media content brand called StoryBots — which was originally created by the founders of JibJab: Gregg Spiridellis and Evan Spiridellis. StoryBots is known for developing original programming for the Netflix children’s series called “Ask the StoryBots.” The deal terms were undisclosed, but Netflix said that it was “immaterial,” according to CNBC.
The streaming giant rarely makes acquisitions. This is actually Netflix’s second content company acquisition after it bought MillarWorld in 2017. “Ask the StoryBots” first landed on Netflix in 2016 and it features five creatures who find answers to questions that kids often want to know. The show
After the acquisition closes, Netflix will expand its series offerings. And Netflix is also going to release short-form content.
Later this year, StoryBots is releasing season 3 of “Ask the StoryBots.” As of now, the show is available in 22 languages across 190 countries. “Ask the StoryBots” also often features celebrity voices. Snoop Dogg, Edward Norton, Whoopi Goldberg, David Kross, Weird Al, Kristen Schaal, Ali Wong, and Wanda Sykes have done voices for the show.
“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,” said Evan and Gregg Spiridellis in a statement.
Netflix is likely going to ramp up its original children’s programming content as it will be facing aggressive competition. Disney is preparing to launch the Disney+ streaming service later this year. And HBO NOW and Apple TV+ have deals set up with Sesame Workshop.
Greg Spiridellis pointed out that Netflix really wants to “create an educational franchise that’s global.” And the goal is to make “StoryBots the next generation of Sesame Street.”
JibJab was sold by the Spiridellis brothers to private equity company Catapult Capital about six months ago. And they decided to sell StoryBots to Netflix in order to gain distribution and utilize Netflix’s scale for merchandising and licensing characters.
Going forward, the Spiridellis are going to continue working at Netflix and work in the company’s animation department. And they will be focused on expanding StoryBots instead of creating new jobs. StoryBots also has a YouTube channel, which has over 600,000 subscribers and more than 1 billion views.