Genius Brands International, Inc. (“Genius Brands” or
the “Company”) (NASDAQ: GNUS),
a global brand
management company that creates and licenses multimedia
entertainment content for children, released a letter to
shareholders from Chairman & CEO Andy Heyward. The complete
People have been asking us, "How did the
Superhero Kindergarten Sneak Peek do?"
The results are in, and I’m proud to report that
Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten ‘Sneak Peek' weekend, starring
Arnold Schwarzenegger, (Jan 29th - 31st) was a massive success
for Kartoon Channel!
The Sneak Peek drove an increase in all key
metrics that we track for Kartoon Channel!, in particular, hours of
viewership, unique users, and application installs.
These results bode well not only for the launch
of the full series later this year, but additionally for the
accompanying consumer products program, and the growth and success
of Kartoon Channel! overall.
I am pleased to share with you, for the first
time, the series premiere date for Stan Lee’s Superhero
Kindergarten, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, has now been set for
APRIL 23. The show will be distributed on Kartoon Channel! across
Apple TV, Apple iOS, Android TV, Android Mobile, Amazon Prime,
Amazon Fire, Roku, Tubi, Dish, Sling, Samsung smart TVs, and LG
A broad marketing campaign managed by our recent
acquisition, Chizcomm Media, will begin shortly across TV,
Influencer, Display Ads, Video Ads, Social Media, and yes, of
course, Stan Lee and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s diverse social
We were delighted by the results, and we asked
ourselves if they would be retained at the end of the Sneak Peek
weekend, and would we be able to experience growth from our
baseline? The answer was...YES.
Not only after the weekend, but for the
following three weeks and continuing, every metric we consider
material, showed growth.
While we don’t turn on the Marketing 'Fire Hose’
until the series premieres in April, we are now witnessing organic
growth at extremely high levels… greater than we anticipated.
We noticed something else. There was tremendous
engagement with the show from the social media platforms of both
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stan Lee.
- Kids are discovering Kartoon
- Adults are discovering Kartoon
- Content Owners are contacting
Kartoon Channel!... and wanting their top tier content to appear
Scooby Streams to Kartoon
On Tuesday we announced the license of five hit
animated SCOOBY-DOO! movies acquired from Warner Bros. for Kartoon
Channel!. Scooby-Doo! is one of the most successful properties in
the history of children’s television. Having five Scooby animated
movies to drive viewing and market as big events, is in itself a
big event for the channel! (And, it’s a particular pride for me,
since I began my career as a young writer working under Joe Barbera
of Hanna-Barbera Productions, and my very first episode written was
Kartoon Channel! is well on its way to becoming
a top destination for kids families and an extraordinarily valuable
asset in the Genius Brands overall portfolio.
7 Take Aways for Kartoon
1. STREAMINGToday, we are on a ‘rising sea.’
That sea is called STREAMING. One can’t pick up an article anywhere
these days without reading about the migration of viewers to
streaming services, and the importance of kids content in
particular. Kartoon Channel! is a streaming service, but it is
exclusively for kids and their families.
2. PREMIER ORIGINAL CONTENTWe are delivering
Premium Original Content. Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,
starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Shaq’s Garage, starring legend
Shaquille O'Neal, are examples. They are destination programs. The
only place they can be seen initially will be on Kartoon Channel!.
Successful networks must have destination programs. HBO had Game of
Thrones. Netflix had House of Cards. Fox Kids had Power Rangers. CW
had Pokémon. Nickelodeon had SpongeBob. Kartoon Channel! has Stan
Lee's Superhero Kindergarten and Shaq’s Garage, and a lot more
coming, to be announced.
3. PREMIER ACQUIRED CONTENTLike Scooby-Doo from
Warner Bros., and the Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss from The Jim
Henson Company, we are populating our channel with what we believe
is the best children's content to be acquired in the
4. FREE!We are a streaming service like Netflix,
or HBO Max, or Disney+, or Discovery+, but unlike any of the above,
or other subscription services, KARTOON CHANNEL! IS FREE!
*We do operate a commercial-free product only on
Amazon Prime for a very narrow tranche of our viewership.
5. ETHOSKartoon Channel! has carved out its very
distinct ethos and program code. We call it ‘Content with a
Purpose.’ It is safe. It is kid-friendly, parent-friendly,
advertiser-friendly. The programs on Kartoon Channel! are not
violent, there are no negative stereotypes, and there is never
inappropriate language. We tell thoughtful stories.
6. HUMAN CAPITALLed by industry legend Margaret
Loesch, former President of Marvel Entertainment, The Jim Henson
Productions, Fox Kids, and the Hub, Kartoon Channel! continues to
attract the most accomplished and successful broadcasters,
producers and marketers in the kids business today including our
brilliant and talented GM, Jon Ollwerther. Alongside both of them
is Chief Content Officer, the former President of Walt Disney
Television, David Neuman. And overseeing Marketing is Harold
Chizick, CEO of Chizcomm/Beacon Media… our recent acquisition and
the largest media and marketing agency to kids in North America.
The team at Kartoon Channel! is accomplished, motivated, and
focused on creating meaningful value for Genius Brands
shareholders, by building it into the most important destination
for kids anywhere.
7. FAST CHANNELThis morning we announced the
‘KARTOON FAST CHANNEL.’ A Fast Channel (Free Advertiser Supported
Streaming Television) is a linear channel that is programmed and
always ‘on.' When you go to Kartoon Channel, in addition to our
regular On Demand service for kids to search and stream their
favorite shows, now we also have an ‘always on’ programmed channel
to choose from. It is literally the best of all worlds for our
As a final note, people continue to ask when we
will officially announce our news with Marvel that has previously
been referenced. Were it up to us, it would have been announced
long ago, but we do not set Marvel’s press schedule, they do. I am
happy to report, they have advised us that we can announce our deal
with them no later than the end of March. And we will.
I should also add there have been other rumors
regarding people and properties Genius Brands is working on and
with. Needless to say, we cannot announce anything regarding
people, properties or deals, unless and until an agreement is
concluded. When such agreement occurs, and we are able, our
shareholders can rest assured that we will announce it swiftly.
Exciting things are afoot at Genius Brands. We
have a very strong balance sheet. The company has zero debt, and a
substantial amount of cash on hand. We are looking at a number of
important, and highly accretive acquisition targets.
If you missed the 'Stan Lee’s Superhero
Kindergarten Sneak Peek' weekend, we want you to have one more
chance to see it. Here is a window to see it again on Kartoon
Channel!. This link will be active for 48 hours only.
Watch the 'Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten
If you did see it when it came out, then get
ready because the full first episode will debut with the series on
April 23rd, and kids and fans will get a new episode every week for
26 weeks… I have seen it and can tell you it is… WOW! In it, not
only will Stan Lee have a cameo himself, as he will in every
episode of Superhero Kindergarten, but we will introduce our
villains. Stan Lee once told me that the greatest super-heroes have
been the ones with the greatest super-villains because, ultimately,
it is those super-villains who define the super-heroes. Stan made
sure that his villains were never simply cardboard evil figures.
Wait until you see Part 2 of the first episode of Superhero
Kindergarten. I think you will agree, it will not disappoint.
Today, we feel Stan is looking down with a
smile, about to watch his latest creation on Kartoon Channel!,… And
of course, he is saying, "Excelsior!"
We are building a very special company, and we
say thank you to our shareholders along with us!
Andy HeywardChairman & CEOGenius Brands
About Genius Brands
InternationalGenius Brands International, Inc. (Nasdaq:
GNUS) is a leading global kids media company developing, producing,
marketing and licensing branded children’s entertainment properties
and consumer products for media and retail distribution. The
Company’s award-winning ‘content with a purpose’ portfolio includes
the upcoming Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, starring Arnold
Schwarzenegger, for Kartoon Channel!; Rainbow Rangers for Nick Jr.;
Llama Llama, starring Jennifer Garner, for Netflix; award-winning
toddler brand Baby Genius; adventure comedy STEM series Thomas
Edison's Secret Lab; and entrepreneurship series Warren Buffett's
Secret Millionaires Club. Through licensing agreements with leading
partners, characters from Genius Brands’ IP also appear on a wide
range of consumer products for the worldwide retail marketplace.
The Company’s new Kartoon Channel! and Kartoon Classroom! are
available in over 100 million U.S. television households via a
broad range of distribution platforms, including Comcast, Cox,
DISH, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Amazon
Fire, Apple TV, Apple i0s, Android TV, Android Mobil,
Google Play, Xumo, Roku, Tubi, KartoonChannel.com,
Samsung Smart TVs and LG TVs. For additional information, please
Statements:Certain statements in this press release
constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the
federal securities laws. Words such as "may," "might," "will,"
"should," "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate,"
"continue," "predict," "forecast," "project," "plan," "intend" or
similar expressions, or statements regarding intent, belief, or
current expectations, are forward-looking statements. While the
Company believes these forward-looking statements are reasonable,
undue reliance should not be placed on any such forward-looking
statements, which are based on information available to us on the
date of this release. These forward looking statements are based
upon current estimates and assumptions and are subject to various
risks and uncertainties, including without limitation, our ability
to generate revenue or achieve profitability; our ability to obtain
additional financing on acceptable terms, if at all; the potential
issuance of a significant number of shares, which will dilute our
equity holders; fluctuations in the results of our operations from
period to period; general economic and financial conditions; our
ability to anticipate changes in popular culture, media and movies,
fashion and technology; competitive pressure from other
distributors of content and within the retail market; our reliance
on and relationships with third-party production and animation
studios; our ability to market and advertise our products; our
reliance on third-parties to promote our products; our ability to
keep pace with technological advances; our ability to protect our
intellectual property and those other risk factors set forth in the
“Risk Factors” section of the Company’s most recent Annual Report
on Form 10-K and in the Company's subsequent filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). Thus, actual
results could be materially different. The Company expressly
disclaims any obligation to update or alter statements whether as a
result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as
required by law.