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ZAG Invests In Interactive Storytelling Tech Firm Epopia

Who says letter writing is dead? Not ZAG, which announced on April 21 that it has acquired a stake in Epopia, a French tech company that developed a “unique epistolary letter format that encourages children to read and write through interactive storytelling.”

To put it more simply, Epopia has created a software solution that allows for personalization of content, based on the responses they get to story prompts sent to them by mail. That’s right. Not email, but actual, old-fashioned, pick it up with your hands snail mail that is hand delivered by a postal worker to your mail box.

The new 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. The announcement was made today by Julian Zag, Executive Vice President, Global Operations, ZAG, who also became a personal stakeholder and active board member in the company.

Founded in 2014 by Remy Perla, Epopia brought together an entire team of writers, teachers, illustrators, developers, speech therapists, and graphic designers, who worked together to create a personalized, immersive, and interactive storytelling experience for children. To make this unique experience for children possible, Epopia is the proud creator of a software platform that enables the personalization of content depending on children’s written responses to story prompts sent to them by way of mail.

Already, more than 70,000 children in 75 countries have enjoyed an Epopia adventure. In France, with the support of the French government, over 1000 French schools have integrated Epopia’s stories into their programs. A multi-million dollar company, 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,” said Julian 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 that they have been chosen to become, for example, leader of a magical kingdom, manager of a wildlife sanctuary, or an explorer back in the time of dinosaurs, Perla explains.

In the letters, the characters of the story ask for the child’s help, with decisions to be made, activities to be carried out, and puzzles to be solved. Children respond by old fashioned mail, using pen and paper as tools to make 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 etc., and discover that 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.

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