In white polycarbonate casing with aluminum fixings and measuring 91.5x95x95 millimeters, Story Beam is a portable mini beam projector that functions as a bedtime storyteller.
Developed by Seoul-based Woongjin ThinkBig, one of Korea’s largest publishing companies, Story Beam was launched on October 13 through a homeshopping channel. To-date, more than 60,000 units have been sold through a combination of homeshopping channels, telemarketing, online shopping and direct selling. “During our seventh broadcast on GS Homeshopping channel, 1,400 units were sold out within 30 minutes,” said Story Beam sales manager Patrick Park.
Retailing at 399,000 won (or $359), Story Beam comes in domestic and international versions. The domestic version contains 100 stories, of which 25 stories are in English (the rest in Korean) whereas the international version has 30 classical stories in English. The two versions have different stories in English, which come from a graded reader series called the Young Learner’s Classic Readers. Edited by Casey Malarcher and featuring a wide variety of classic stories from around the world, these stories are targeted at first to third-grade students.
“If overseas markets want the English stories translated into their own language, then we can help to embed the dubbed files in StoryBeam. They will then have 60 stories in each unit,” added Park, whose team has just finished shipping 2,000 units to Taiwan. So far, StoryBeam has been introduced to countries such as China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, India and Russia, and export is in progress. “We recommend a retail price of $359, but of course, this is adjustable depending on local market factors.”
Parents can place AVI and MP4 files on Story Beam, or connect the unit via USB cable to a laptop in order to play such file formats. In Korea, up to 100 stories are available for purchase through www.momstation.com. For overseas markets, additional stories are available from publishing companies such as Britannica and Pearson Education. For those wanting to personalize the stories for their children to enjoy, there is a built-in function for recording voice-overs.
Story Beam comes with a four-gigabyte memory card, video-out function, speaker, remote control, power adapter, USB cable and a projector cradle. The beam is capable of providing a clean and sharp projection as wide as 95 centimeters from a distance of three meters from the wall or ceiling.
Added Park, “The main idea behind Story Beam is about helping children to develop the habit of reading. Parents can get their children ready for bed, switch on the Story Beam, cast the projection onto the ceiling, and spend the next 15 minutes enjoying two or three stories together. Aside from fostering parent-child bonding through an enjoyable activity, the children also get to improve their vocabulary and hone their story-telling skills.”