Wednesday December 4 saw ToyTalk, a family entertainment company, announce the first major update to its extremely popular flagship app, The Winston Show. The update for iPad users, which is free to download, comes in the form of a sketch called “In the Movies” that casts the viewing audience in two movie sets: Winston Sly, Private Eye and Squabble Amongst the Stars.
This marks the sixth addition to The Winston Show since it debuted in September 2013, and the new update allows kids the opportunity to talk with the characters and drive the direction of the narrative. It uses the iPad’s video capabilities and features more than 11 hours of audio content to inspire children to create, imagine, and perform in totally new ways.
“After launch, we immediately noticed something really interesting: our audience was engaging with The Winston Show in a half-hour block on the weekend, more like they would with television than a traditional iPad app,” says ToyTalk co-founder and CEO Oren Jacob.
Those half-hour blocks of dedicated use have skyrocketed The Winston Show’s popularity; it’s currently one of the top apps in the entertainment field. ToyTalk’s success is also directly related to the proprietary software, built by former technical talent from Pixar and SRI, which allows creators to design two-way conversational characters with a crisp AI.
Charles River Ventures, First Round Capital, Greylock Partners, and True Ventures, along with multiple angel investors, have helped ToyTalk bring in $16 million in funding to date. The kids using the app will help make that funding worth it, because they have already said over 2 million things to the characters and they don’t plan on stopping.