Interview with 'MFLARE', Developer of 'IWING', A Picture Book App Enabling Mothers to Record Their Voices
[ Julie, Son 2015-11-06 ]  
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Founded in 2011, there is a powerful educational content developer that has created 23 educational applications in five years -- with 6.5 million app downloads and more than six awards. This company is MFLARE, which has developed "Cocomong Hidden Catch", "Hello Cocomong English Children's Song with Dance Routines", "Magic Hanja Game for the Thousand-Character Classic" and "IWING".

In particular, "IWING", a picture book streaming service which MFLARE developed, not only received the excellence award from "KOREA MOBILE AWARD 2014" but is also gaining popularity as a useful educational app -- all from word of mouth from parents. Aving News met CEO Kim Nam-ok, who started the "IWING" service because he wanted to read fairytale books to his children, even when he was at the office.
The company's CI is unique! Why is it shaped like a snail?
Educational applications should give children something to imagine and educate. This should be done slowly, keeping pace with the children's growth. MFLARE's CI means "Educate children slowly like a snail".

There are already many services that can read picture books. What is the advantage of "IWING"?
The advantage of "IWING" is that parents can read fairytale books and record their voices. Of course, children can also record their own voices while reading the books. The children's reaction to storybooks with actors' voices and their parents' voices is apparently different. Just recording the voices together and listening to them help in strengthening family ties. Furthermore, families can make happy memories by reading books and recording their children's vivid voices when they were young.

▶ The picture book "Who Ate My Apple Pie?", recorded by a user via the "IWING" app

We heard that users can both record their voices for fairy-tale books and share them with other users.
Users can record their voices for storybooks and share their books with other users. They only need to download the "IWING" app and free storybooks or purchase the books. Users who become friends on the "IWING" app can easily read each other's books and communicate with each other. This means that if American children read books and record their voices, Korean children can read those books recorded in English. Conversely, Korean children living in foreign countries, where Korean storybooks are difficult to find, can read and listen to Korean books uploaded on the app. Children can study foreign languages, including English and Chinese, as well as Korean.

Are paper versions of those storybooks available for purchase?
Most of the books on the "IWING" app already have paper versions. If users are satisfied with children online e-books, they tend to purchase the paper versions. So, the "IWING" platform can be a promotional channel for existing printed storybooks.

There are many fairytale books with high-quality recordings. Is there a professional group for that?
We have not hired voice actors, actresses, and professionals to record the books. Parents are passionate about recording their voices for the books. They just want to do it for their children. Some users are really like professional voice actors and actresses. As for the books with children's voices, there are many contents that are far more natural and cuter, regardless of the performance.

We heard the company is developing a platform for artists.
We allow artists to upload their illustrations for storybooks on the app. If they get positive reviews, we would help in publishing the paper versions of their works via crowdfunding. In particular, we would like to give great opportunities for storybook writers who want to restore their careers. Furthermore, we hope that Korean storybooks will become steady sellers internationally.

What are the plans for expanding "IWING" service?
As the number of users of "IWING" service has been increasing, big data is being created of children's gender, age, and interests. Through this, we will expand our business to a book curation service that reflects children's tastes. This service is not like books that adults select for children according to developmental stages. Instead, the books are chosen by experts and IWING's book curation service, which reflects the children's tastes. They will be provided promptly, and users can receive four books every month through the service. We will start a customized library curation service that matches children's tastes and age.

Global News Network 'AVING'
by Julie, Son (www.aving.net)

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