Have you ever thought about what would happen if you had a black hole in your pocket? Well, Kurzgesagt has and they even have the answer! Spoiler alert: You’ll die.
Created in 2013 as a personal project by Philipp Dettmer, Kurzgesagt has amassed over 11 million subscribers, almost 1 billion views, and over 13000 patrons through their astounding videos!
Keeping these figures in mind, it’s now the largest Youtube channel in Germany, with its headquarters based in Munich. While there’s certainly no shortage of explainer or animated videos on the internet, Kurzgesagt has managed to put its own twist on explainer videos and offered something unique to the world.
Their videos will definitely make you binge-watch, if not obsessed, and you’ll soon find yourself going down an endless rabbit-hole where you click one video after another.
How did Kurzgesagt reach so many people and built a huge and dedicated loyal base? What was it that set their videos apart from other animated explainer videos on the internet? Let’s find out!
Phillip Dettmer dropped out of school when he was 15 because he was bored out of his mind. “I just wasn’t interested in anything, and I couldn’t stand lectures,” says Philipp. However, he soon found his calling in his 20s when he discovered animations!
Driven by his newfound passion, Philipp applied to the Munich Design School and was accepted. He later realized the world was a beautifully intricate place with so much to learn. It wasn’t the content that was boring, it was the way it was taught!
From then on began his research and findings of the world we live in and shared the information with others wholeheartedly. For his undergraduate thesis, he presented the information in the form of an animated explainer video. Little did he know his bachelor project would lead him on a path to being the owner of the largest Youtube channel in Germany and being a millionaire!
After his bachelor’s ended, Philipp continued making explainer videos with the motivation that everybody should have access to knowledge and went on to revolutionize the way scientific information was presented.
Dettmer says. “The videos should be fun, and learning something should be a bonus. The evil master plan behind the videos is teaching people without it feeling that way.” His evil master plan was definitely successful, just ask the students who turn to his channel to learn!
All Philipp wanted to do was teach us about everything going on in this world, and beyond, in the most exciting and fun way. This idea is one we can definitely get behind.
Kurzgesagt started off with less than 6 people, though very eager, still struggled to get the Youtube channel off the ground. Now, 7 years and 11 million subscribers later, the explainer video company comprises 30 members working full time to create educational videos for its audience.
Does it surprise you that Kurzgesagt has sneaked its way into the top 10 education Youtube channels? Safe to say it’s a fan favorite, including ours!
The Sauce of Success
Kurzgesagt’s net worth as of March 2020, is north of $2.7 million! They’re adamant about producing and making their content live for free, which is why they require the support of their followers in the form of merchandise and through Patreon.
They have worked with many organizations including some notable names like Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Audi, and the National Academy of Sciences.
Their ritual is probably the thing that sets them apart from most explainer video companies. They have a whole team dedicated just to research and fact-check.
Kurzgesagt is driven by passion and motivation and it’s reflected in their content. While coming up for a topic to make their videos on, they see if there’s a topic that interests them, if there’s a larger context in a topic, or if it needs a new perspective.
More often than not, they make videos on what their audience asks them in the comments, or an idea or a question hits them while they are already researching another topic, hence leading them to a completely different path.
Once their idea is decided, they commence the hardest part: The script! According to them, their script can take anywhere from a few weeks, to literally years to finalize. One fine example of this is their video on loneliness!
The reason behind such a crazy timeline is because of the time they input in researching. Kurzgesagt leaves no stone unturned and gathers information from books and research papers before creating the first draft. The script is then sent to multiple scientists and experts and revised multiple times before the final script is drafted.
Collaborating with other sources, rewriting the script, and research process are the factors that take months to write the final script. This is also why they are trusted so much by their audience!
What are you? Oh no, we don’t mean to offend you, it’s just a question Kurzgesagt asks their audience, before going into the depths of our existence of course. But this is not all Kurzgesagt makes videos about.
From addressing educational topics like String theory to world issues like politics, what Kurzgesagt creates is mind-blowing. They even have explainer videos on space science which definitely raises some questions.
Point is, they will literally make videos on any topic they fancy and deliver it to you in the best possible way: Animated explainer videos! They even entertain ideas given to them by their audience, so why not head into their comments section if you have an idea that would make for an interesting video?
It’s questions like, what will happen if all the nuclear bombs detonate at once that captures the attention of millions of viewers. Their crisp and lively animation definitely engages the viewer and holds their attention.
From choosing the topic to the final sound effects, Kurzgesagt spends a lot of time perfecting each step. A team of 2-3 animators works on illustrating over 200 panels of one video and this whole process takes up somewhere between 8 to 12 weeks to complete. And this is without edits!
Even the narrator, Steve Taylor, records multiple versions before settling on one. The authoritative and clear voice-over definitely adds to the charm of the video which already has us hooked to it.
The smooth movements and clear transitions you see in the video are thanks to the animators that spend over 8-12 weeks and add every movement manually to make it more realistic.
To keep the content fun and engaging, the script tends to be a little cheeky which definitely leaves the audience snickering into their phones. The content is so interesting, that it’s hard to quit the video once you start it. Their signature characters are little birds who guide you through the video and keep things light.
When the team was asked, “Why birds?” they replied with, “Why not?” And that’s really the attitude that got them where they are today.
Even after being the largest Youtube channel in Germany and creating videos that attract views consistently, Kurzgesagt manages to create animated explainer videos and didn’t let the fame get to them. They have stayed humble and prioritize their viewer’s trust over anything else.
Kurzgesagt has one principal that they religiously follow, and that’s quality over quantity, always!
Which is why they deleted two of their most popular videos. But yet again, they approached and announced this decision in the perfect way possible.
Kurzgesagt’s video on the refugee crisis and addiction had more than 30 million views when combined. However, they weren’t proud of it and felt like they owed their audience more than what the original videos offered.
They admitted that sufficient research wasn’t carried out for these two videos and they were biased while scripting them. The perspective was not balanced, one-sided and was borderline toxic as well in the refugee crisis video. People still loved them, but Kurzgesagt didn’t, so they rose above the situation like champs and got rid of the videos.
They’re making an updated video on addiction and taking their sweet time with the research and scripting, so look out for it!
Approach In Future
Learning from their past mistakes, Kurzgesagt has promised their viewers to carry out full research, this time through the creators of the internet as well as they’re not driven by money, but their passion for the topic. This way, their content will be relevant and reliable.
They know they can be biased towards some topics and are working on overcoming them.
To make their videos more engaging, they’re experimenting with 4D modeling to add depth and character into their animations to make them look more realistic.
Whatever their strategy is for the future, one thing is for sure, they will continue making killer animated explainer videos and solving mysteries one video at a time!
It’s because of the time and effort they put into creating educational content in the form of explainer videos, and the trust they’ve built over the years, that Kurzgesagt has established itself a trustworthy source with a multitude of topics.
Whether you’re looking for information or if you just want to spend time watching fun content, Kurzgesagt puts ideas and little nuggets in your head to help you pass the time when you’re lying awake at 3 am at night and staring into the dark abyss.
If you want to know how to catch a planet, head on to their channel right now!