ZAG animation studio has acquired a stake in Epopia, the French company whose epistolary letter format encourages children to read and write through interactive storytelling. The deal is an extension of the existing agreement between the two companies, with Epopia holding the global licensing rights in the category for Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir.
Founded in 2014 by Remy Perla, Epopia’s team consists of writers, teachers, illustrators, developers, speech therapists, and graphic designers. Epopia created a software platform that enables the personalization of content depending on children’s written responses to story prompts sent to them via mail. Over 70,000 children in 75 countries have participated in an Epopia adventure; and in France, with the support of the French government, over 1000 French schools have integrated Epopia’s stories into their programs. Epopia is the winner of a French National Education Award and two Gold Medals from the Paris Innovation Salon ‘Concours Lepine.’
“Under our new partnership, we will work with Epopia to build on the company’s European success and further expand its business worldwide by developing new opportunities for original stories to be created and acquiring licensed IP,” stated Julian Zag, Executive Vice President – Global Operations, ZAG. “This unique platform is a great vehicle to extend audience interaction from the TV to new storytelling adventures. Epopia will also exploit all of ZAG’s properties under their format, including Miraculous Ladybug, our upcoming series, Ghostforce, and many more.”
“What child has never dreamed of being the hero of their favorite story?” added Perla. “Our goal is to make children dream, help them develop their imagination and make reading and writing a game for them. Valued by the role assigned to them, children begin to write enthusiastically, knowing that they have a decisive impact on the rest of their adventures. Without any formal, substantive or corrective writing requirements, they will gain confidence.”
Currently, Epopia has six stories tailored to the interests of children, including Miraculous PenPals, with several new titles in the works.
After signing up for an Epopia subscription, children receive a letter by mail with their name on it and learn what role they will play in their story — such as the leader of a magical kingdom, manager of a wildlife sanctuary, or explorer in the dinosaur age, for example. In the letters, the characters of the story ask for the child’s help making decisions, carrying out activities, and solving puzzles. Children respond by mail, making their own choices for what comes next in the adventure.
All the letters are read by an Epopia author who will make the personalized story progress according to the child’s wishes. In return, children will receive new letters, with new surprises including 3D puzzles, paper toys, stickers, and cards, and discover how their choices direct the rest of the adventure. At the end of their story, children will receive a personalized book including all their letters, pictures and drawings that they have sent. The level of difficulty can be adapted to the child’s reading level in order to offer them a tailor-made experience.