Genius Brands International Provides Business Updates

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., July 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Following a slate of recent Company news regarding the launch of the  Kartoon Channel!, the creation of  Stan Lee Universe – anchored by a global deal with  Archie Comics – and the appointment of  Michael Uslan as Head of Development for Stan Lee Universe,  Genius Brands International, Inc. “Genius Brands” (NASDAQ:GNUS) today announces more important business updates.

“Recently, we have made tremendous strides in our growth and those developments are just a part of the Genius Brands’ story,” said Genius Brands Chairman & CEO Andy Heyward. “During this time our Kartoon Channel! team has been working on the iOS app, which will debut before month end, and securing new content. Our Global Consumer Products sales team and our International Distribution sales team have been busy negotiating and closing deals. Today, we’re sharing the announcement of distribution deals stretching across four different continents, and consumer products licensing deals with products ranging from branded face masks to bicycles. These new agreements give us an even stronger platform to deliver long-term value at Genius Brands. We are working diligently to build a value machine in children’s entertainment – gathering the best talents in the industry and striving to provide top-quality content. This is the best way to deliver long-term shareholder return.” 

New Broadcast and Platform Content Deals

Genius Brands has signed a raft of broadcast and digital platform deals around the world for its animated tentpole children’s series,  Rainbow Rangers, currently airing in the U.S. on Nick Jr., including:

  • Australia’s  Nine Network (seasons 1 & 2)
  • New Zealand’s  TVNZ (season 1)
  • MENA’s  Discovery Kids (seasons 1 & 2)
  • Israel’s   NOGA (seasons 1 & 2)
  • TV2 in Hungary (season 1)
  • Poland’s  Mini Mini (seasons 1 & 2)
  • Portugal’s  Canal Panda (seasons 1 & 2)
  • Pikaboo in the Balkans (seasons 1 & 2)
  • Pan-regional partner,  Nickelodeon Latin American and  NOGGIN (season 2)

Shanghai Senyu has also licensed the rights for Mainland China to season two of the Rainbow Rangers with an investment commitment. Shanghai Senyu currently represents season one of the series and manages the development of the consumer products program for the brand across the region.

For  Llama Llama, starring Jennifer Garner, Genius Brands has signed new international content deals, including  TVP in Poland,  KAN in Israel, and Croatia’s  HRT.

New Retail Initiatives

In the consumer products’ marketplace, Genius Brands is gearing up for the August retail launch at  Walmart for the  Rainbow Rangers’ toy line from  Mattel, along with hundreds of other product SKUs coming to retail over the next 12 months.

The Company is also developing its international retail program and has appointed two new licensing agents to manage  Rainbow Rangers in key territories, including  Tycoon (Mexico) and  ETS Licensing (Italy).

In addition to Mattel, current manufacturing partners producing product for mass retail and online for  Rainbow Rangers include: 

  • Distribution Solutions (DVDs)
  • Bentex (apparel)
  • MacMillan Publishing (books)
  • Dynacraft (bicycles – a completely sold out first run with more arriving this fall)
  • Centric Brands (sleepwear)
  • Handcraft (underwear)
  • Disguise (costumes and accessories)

For the  Llama Llama brand, Genius Brands has partnered with on a new initiative to feature Llama Llama  branded cloth face masks.  Genius Brands will be donating a percentage of the proceeds to the  Save the Children organization. Additionally, for every mask purchased, MaskClub is donating a medical grade mask to  First Responders Children’s Foundation for distribution to paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, firefighters and medical personnel treating COVID- 19 patients. 

Additional partners appointed to create  Llama Llama branded products for a wide range of mass, specialty and online retail distribution nationwide, include:

  • Kids Preferred (plush)
  • Bendon Publishing (activity books)
  • NCircle Entertainment (DVDs)
  • Scholastic (game and activity books available exclusively at Scholastic Book Fairs)
  • PhatMojo (toys)
  • Cuddle Barn (holiday plush)
  • Core Home (range of hydration and feeding products)
  • Everyday Kids, (children's bedding and home décor) 
  • SPIRIT! (book with plush set)
  • Decopac (bake design and decorating kits)
  • Prime Party (party goods)
  • Creative Converting (party accessories)
  • (Halloween costumes)
  • Kurt Adler (holiday ornaments)

In the international marketplace, Genius Brands has appointed  Centa IP as licensing agent to drive the  Llama Llama business across Pac-Asia.

New Kartoon Channel! Update

An iOS COPPA compliant Kartoon Channel! app will be available by end of July to further enhance user experience. Additional marquis content will also be announced in the coming weeks.

About Rainbow Rangers
Featuring engaging storylines rooted in themes of empowerment, diversity, friendship, and sustainability, Rainbow Rangers, with two seasons produced, is a rescue-based series that follows the adventures of seven girls who are Earth’s first responders, protecting people, animals, resources, and the natural beauty of our world.  The series boasts a unique and highly-accomplished team of creators from the animated motion picture and television worlds, including Rob Minkoff (Disney’s The Lion King director), Shane Morris (Disney’s Frozen co-writer), Tim Mansfield, and New York Times Bestselling author and Emmy Award-nominated writer Elise Allen (Dinosaur Train, Lion Guard, Barbie specials), who serves as head writer and co-creator.  Multiple Emmy Award-winning director Michael Maliani directs the series, and Genius Brands' Chairman and CEO and multiple Emmy Award-winning producer, Andy Heyward, serves as executive producer.

About Llama Llama
Based on the award-winning and bestselling book series by celebrated author and illustrator Anna Dewdney, the preschool series is about first childhood experiences and adventures, as well as the special connections between the lead character, Llama, his Mama and his grandparents. Llama Llama tells heart-warming tales of life in a safe, friendly town seen through the eyes of Llama as he interacts with the amazing world around him.  Seasons one and two of the series are available on Netflix with Jennifer Garner in the lead role as Mama Llama.

With over 30 million units in print worldwide, Dewdney’s Llama Llama books from Penguin Young Readers have all been New York Times  bestsellers with several titles claiming the #1 spot, and her work has been translated into eight languages. Dewdney’s soothing tales are synonymous with calming early-childhood anxiety and she was praised by the  Chicago Tribune  as a “geographer extraordinaire of the emotional terrain of preschoolers and their mothers.” Books in her  Llama Llama  series include  Llama Llama Red Pajama,   Llama Llama Holiday Drama, Llama Llama Misses Mama,  and  Llama Llama Time to Share .

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