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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Genius Brands International
TypePublic
NasdaqGNUS
IndustryEntertainment
PredecessorGenius Products
FoundedNovember 2013; 8 years ago (2013-11)
FoundersAndy Heyward
Headquarters,
US
Key people
Products
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Books
Brands
ServicesLicensing
Owners
Divisions
SubsidiariesA Squared Entertainment LLC
Stan Lee Comics LLC (60%)
Websitegnusbrands.com

Genius Brands International (GBI) is an entertainment company headed by Andy Heyward. The company was formed from the merger of Genius Brands International and A Squared Entertainment.

History

2014–2015

Genius Brands International (GBI) was formed in November 2013 from the merger between A2 Entertainment and pre-merger Genius Brands (former Pacific Entertainment), with the Heywards of A2 taking over as top executives. Pre-merged Genius Brands CEO Klaus Moeller moved to vice president of special markets at GBI. GBI's board of directors included former California governor Gray Davis and American Greetings Corp. president-COO Jeff Weiss.[3]

The Baby Genius' video on demand subscription service launched in April 2014.[4] GBI launched a VOD channel of children's entertainment called Kid Genius in October 2015, through Comcast's Xfinity On Demand.[5]

In June 2014, Genius Brands agreed to license Baby Genius, Secret Millionaires Club and Thomas Edison's Secret Lab to LeapFrog Enterprises for kids' learning tablets.[6] The first few Leap Frog tablet apps from the deal were released in December 2014, with two for both Baby Genius and Secret Millionaires Club.[7]

GBI issued and sold 4.3 million shares of stock and warrants in November 2014 to investors and management at par $1. The raised working capital would be used for brand marketing, new property acquisition and development and the Kid Genius channel.[8]

2016–2019

Penguin Young Readers and author/illustrator Anna Dewdney signed an agreement with Genius to develop animated content and manage licensing for the Llama Llama franchise in February 2016. The products, from apparel to toys, are slated to arrive in 2016.[9]

In February 2016, Genius Brands and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced a multi-year marketing and distribution agreement for four existing properties plus three under development. Existing properties under the deal are SpacePop, a new original Baby Genius series, Secret Millionaires Club and Stan Lee’s Mighty 7. The new Baby Genius series would be relaunched on Amazon.com in September.[10]

The company paired for another Sony agreement in April 2016. This agreement was with Sony Music Entertainment's Legacy Recordings for the Genius Brands Music label. The label would have two age-focused imprints, for toddlers, Baby Genius, and children-to-tweens, Kid Genius.[11]

In September 2016, GBI had teamed up with Rob Minkoff and Shane Morris on a preschool animated series. The series is Rainbow Rangers, featuring others of the rainbow magical girls, who protect the earth. Main designed were by Brittany Myers and Ruben Aquino. At the time, the company expect to have the concept debut as a third quarter 2017 special and a full series start in second quarter 2018.[12]

Kid Genius channel expanded to a small network of on demand channels with its offerings first on Comcast on Demand with a Baby Genius TV channel.[13] The company launched Kid Genius Cartoons Plus! on Amazon Channels starting on September 28, 2017.[14] Plus included all GBI programming plus other acquired programming.[15] Genius Brands Network in July 2019 added content from kids gaming company Tankee to its channels.[16]

In January 2017, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment expanded its distribution deal to all properties and took an equity stake in Genius Brands.[17] In November 2017, the company filed with the SEC to resell 1.65 million shares of stock.[18]

Genius issued a convertible debt round bringing in $4.5 million in August 2018 which was led by financier Robert Wolf of 32 Ventures and was oversubscribed bringing in both existing and new investors.[19] In September 2018, Bank Lemi extended a $6 million bank facility allowing Genius to produced a second season of Llama Llama.[20]

2020–present

In May 2020, the company's stock value jump 2000% with four announced stock sales that month, after being put on notice by NASDAQ for low share value which might trigger de listing. Reason for the jump was the company announced its Kartoon Channel launch date and Mattel's Rainbow Rangers toys have gain shelf space at Wal-Mart in the summer 2020. With an announcement of registering a stockholder stock sale on June 4, the stock broke its run up with a 13% drop.[21] Kartoon Channel, which is the merger of its existing channels, launched on June 15, 2020, on four more platforms.[22]

On July 6, 2020, Genius Brands acquired exclusive worldwide rights to use Stan Lee's name, physical likeness and signature from POW! Entertainment as well as licensing rights to his name and over 100 of POW's original IPs. The assets will be placed under a new joint-venture with POW!, called Stan Lee Universe, managed by Genius.[23] Michael E. Uslan was hired to advise Genius on Lee Universe film and TV projects. Genius then arranged a publishing deal with Archie Comics for Stan Lee Universe comic book imprint starting with Kindergarten Cop adaptation title.[24]

On October 27, 2021, Genius announced they would acquire the Canadian-based Wow Unlimited Media for $53 Million, allowing Genius to expand to the country. The transaction will be completed in Q1 2022, pending regulatory approval.[25][26]

Background

A2 Squared Background

Some of future A Squared Entertainment properties originated at Andy Heyward's previous company, DIC Entertainment. DIC signed a TV series production deal in July 2003 with Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment for Stan Lee's Secret Super Six.[27] In 2006, DIC was in development on Secret Millionaires Club with Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett.[28]

A Squared Entertainment

A Squared Entertainment (A2, A Squared) was formed by Heyward and his wife, Amy Moynihan Heyward, in 2009 as an animation company. The company had an initial four-show celebrity-inspired cartoon slate to be seen on AOL starting in Q4 2009 with the last starting in 2010. The four shows would then switch from a webisode format of 26 episodes of three-to-five-minute to TV with 13 22-minute shows. The slate then consisted of Secret Millionaires Club, GiGi and The Green Team (working title), Little Martha (working title) and Kosmos. Kosmos was a series to be based on Carl Sagan's life as a famous astronomer.[29] A2's first animated program was Secret Millionaires Club, which features an animated Buffett as a secret mentor to a group of enterprising children. Also, Martha & Friends with Martha Stewart and Gisele & the Green Team with Gisele Bundchen were created and launched by A Square.[3]

In February 2010, A2 partnered with POW! Entertainment and Archie Comics to create the Stan Lee Comics joint venture for the Stan Lee's Super Seven franchise.[30] On December 7, 2010, A Squared launched Gisele & The Green Team webseries in conjunction with AOLkids.com and Gisele Bündchen.[31]

In April 2012, Stan Lee's Mighty 7 was slated to be developed for other media formats via A Squared Elxsi Entertainment LLC (A2E2). A2E2 was a joint-venture between A Squared Entertainment (A2) and Tata Elxsi[32] formed in January 2011 which Elxsi ends in October 2012.[33] Also in 2012, A2 took over Archies' ownership stake in Stan Lee Comics.[34]

By November 2013, A2 had Thomas Edison's Secret Lab in development.[3]

Pacific Entertainment

Pacific Entertainment Corporation was founded by Baby Genius creators Klaus Moeller and Larry Balaban in 2006. In January 2006, Pacific Entertainment purchased Baby Genius and other lines from Genius Products, Inc. for $3 million. The other lines were preschool brands such as Wee Worship and the Little Tikes music and DVD series. Genius Products retained exclusive U.S. distribution rights for the lines.[35]

GBI licensed Baby Genius in January 2011 to Jakks Pacific's Tollytots division for a musical and early learning toy line.[36] At Toy Fair 2012, Tollytots introduced the line with 20 products.[37]

In December 2011, Pacific Entertainment Corporation changed its name to Genius Brands International, Inc. (GBI).[38] Genius Brands digitized its Baby Genius book line in July 2013 via a deal with Graphicly.[39]

Units

  • A Squared Entertainment LLC: is Genius Brand's brand management and licensing subsidiary.
  • Genius Brands Music, music label with two imprints, Baby Genius, Kid Genius
  • Stan Lee Comics LLC: a joint venture with POW! Entertainment currently only for the Stan Lee's Mighty 7 franchise[30]
  • Kartoon Channel, formerly Kid Genius Network[40] (-2020)
    • Kid Genius Cartoon Channel (defunct)
    • Baby Genius TV (defunct)
    • Kid Genius Cartoons Plus![15] (defunct)

*Kartoon Channel

Kartoon Channel
CountryUS
Ownership
OwnerGenius Brands International
History
LaunchedOctober 2015 (2015-10)
Former namesKid Genius Cartoon
Links
Websitewww.kartoonchannel.com
Availability

Kartoon Channel, formerly Kid Genius Channel, is a video on demand channel owned by Genius Brands.

The Kid Genius Channel was launched by GBI with children's entertainment in October 2015, through Comcast's Xfinity On Demand.[5] Debra Pierson was named general manager for the channel in March 2016.[41] In December 2016, Margaret Loesch was named Executive Chairman of the Kids Genius Channel with Pierson promoted to channel president.[1] The channel was added to several over-the-top media services including Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire, the week of February 2017.[42]

Kartoon Channel, which is the merger of its existing channels, was announced to be launched on June 15, 2020, on four more platforms. Loesch would carry over from Kid Genius Network as executive chair, while adding former president of Walt Disney Television production company David Neuman as chief creative officer of the streaming service.[22]

Programming

Initial
Later acquired
Baby Genius TV[13]
  • The Adventures of Paddington Bear
  • Rainbow Valley Fire Department
  • Baby Prodigy
  • Igloo-Gloo
  • Pirates Adventures in Art
  • So! Smart
  • Todd World
  • Baby Genius Nursery Rhymes
  • Baby Genius Animals
Plus![15]

Production library

Title Year(s) Type Production
partner(s)
Distributor Kid Genius
Cartoon Channel
Notes
Gisele & The Green Team 2010-2012 Animated series
AOLkids.com (Plus!)[15]
Martha & Friends 2011 AOLkids.com (Plus!)[15]
2012 Animated film Hallmark Channel Martha's Magnificent Egg[44]
Secret Millionaires Club October 23, 2011—October 12, 2014 Animated series Berkshire Hathaway
Bang Zoom! Entertainment
Xing Xing Animation
Hub Network
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
initial[5] (Plus!)[15]
2014 Tablet apps Leap Frog Enterprises N/A
  • Secret Millionaires Club: New Beginnings
  • Secret Millionaires Club: Rhythm and Responsibility
Baby Genius December 2014 tablet apps N/A
September 2015 - Animated series Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab April 2015 Animated series Symbiosys Technologies
Telegael
GPB
APT[45]
initial[5] (Plus!)[15]
SpacePop 2016 - Animated series Symbiosys Technologies
Telegael
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment initial[5] (Plus!)[15] 2 seasons[46]
Books Imprint (an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group) Macmillan Publishers Services N/A
  • Not Your Average Princesses (July 2016) written by Erin Downing and illustrated by Jen Bartel
  • Rocking the Resistance (January 2017)[47]
2018 Animated film Not Your Average Princesses [46]
Llama Llama[9] 2018-2020 Animated series Telegael NCircle Entertainment[48]
Netflix
  • season 1: 15 x 30 min.[49]
  • season 2: 16 11-min.
  • specials: 2 x 30-min.[20]
Merchandising Kids Preferred (toy)[48]
Rainbow Rangers November 5, 2018[19] Animated series Telegael Nick Jr.[50]
APC Kids (EMEA distribution)[51]
52 x 11-minute episodes
2nd qtr. 2019 Books Imprint[52] Macmillan Publishers Services
3rd qtr. 2019[53] live touring Gershwin Entertainment N/A [19]
Superhero Kindergarten 2021 animated TV Show Kartoon Channel

References

  1. ^ a b Schwindt, Oriana (December 19, 2016). "TV Veteran Margaret Loesch Joins Kid Genius Cartoon Channel". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  2. ^ Vlessing, Etan (April 2, 2018). "Genius Brands International Hires Robert Denton as CFO". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Bond, Paul (November 15, 2013). "Genius Brands Merges With Andy Heyward's A Squared Entertainment". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  4. ^ Goldman Getzler, Wendy (April 8, 2014). "Baby Genius grows into own streaming service". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Hansen, Darah (October 8, 2015). "Kid Genius channel launches on Xfinity on demand". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. StreamDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  6. ^ Fisher, Daniela (June 5, 2014). "Genius Brands bounds onto LeapPads, launches distribution division". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  7. ^ Fisher, Daniela (December 5, 2014). "Baby Genius, Secret Millionaires jump onto LeapPads". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  8. ^ Dickson, Jeremy (October 30, 2015). "Genius Brands International to sell US$4.3 million in stock". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Milligan, Mercedes (February 19, 2015). "Genius Brands Animating 'Llama Llama'". Animation Magazine. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  10. ^ McNary, Dave (February 22, 2016). "Sony, Genius Brands Set Home Entertainment Distribution Pact". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  11. ^ Christman, Ed (April 18, 2016). "Genius Brands Teams with Sony Music, Legacy to Launch Kids Label". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  12. ^ Terry, Joshua (September 20, 2016). "TV News Roundup: Leah Remini Developing Scientology Series; USA Pilot Casts 'Prometheus,' 'Rectify' Stars". Variety. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Whyte, Alexandra (December 19, 2017). "Baby Genius launches on Comcast Xfinity". Kidscreen. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  14. ^ Ng, David (September 25, 2017). "Amazon partners with Genius Brands International in the battle to dominate the streaming market for kids". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Milligan, Mercedes (September 25, 2017). "Genius Brands Debuts Kid Genius Cartoons Plus! on Amazon Channels". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  16. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (June 25, 2019). "Genius Brands Network, Tankee VOD Forge Cross-Content Partnership". Animation Magazine. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  17. ^ McNary, Dave (January 18, 2017). "Sony Takes Stake in Genius Brands International". Variety. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  18. ^ "Genius Brands files for resale of up to 1.65 mln shares". Reuters.com. November 20, 2017. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  19. ^ a b c Milligan, Mercedes (August 22, 2018). "Genius Brands Raises $4.5M to Power 'Rainbow Rangers' S2 & Retail". Animation Magazine. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Hayes, Dade (October 1, 2018). "Genius Brands Lines Up Financing For Its Netflix Show 'Llama Llama'". Deadline. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  21. ^ Sraders, Anne (June 5, 2020). "What is Genius Brands? The little-known stock rose over 2,000% in the past month". Fortune. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  22. ^ a b Siegel, Fern (June 6, 2020). "Kartoon Channel Launches Mid-June, Taps Loesch As Executive Chairman". Television News Daily. MediaPost. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  23. ^ Tuchow, Ryan (July 6, 2020). "Genius Brands acquires Stan Lee's likeness, IPs". Kidscreen. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  24. ^ Vlessing, Etan (July 15, 2020). "Archie Comics to Launch Comic Books Based on Stan Lee Superheroes". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  25. ^ "Genius Brands acquires Wow! Unlimited".
  26. ^ "Genius Brands International to Acquire WOW! Unlimited Media". October 27, 2021. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  27. ^ Rick DeMott, Rick DeMott (July 18, 2003). "POW! Stan Lee Reloaded". AWN Profile. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  28. ^ Ball, Ryan (February 8, 2006). "DIC, Buffett Form Millionaire's Club". Animation Magazine.net. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  29. ^ Castleman, Lana (July 24, 2009). "Heyward returns to toons with AOL deal in tow". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  30. ^ a b Truitt, Brian (February 22, 2010). "Meet Stan Lee's newest super-team, 'Super Seven'". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  31. ^ a b Neigher, Julie (December 12, 2010). "Gisele Bündchen talks about modeling, her family and 'Gisele & the Green Team'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  32. ^ Rusak, Gary (April 2, 2012). "A2E2 to develop Stan Lee and the Mighty 7". Kidscreen. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  33. ^ "Tata Elxsi calls off joint venture with A Squared Entertainment LLC, USA". Live Mint.com. October 9, 2012. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  34. ^ "FORM 10-K: Annual Report December 31, 2015" (PDF). stockpr.com. Genius Brands International. p. F13-F14. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  35. ^ Baisley, Sarah (January 20, 2006). "Genius Products Sells Baby Genius Back to Creators". Animation World Network. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  36. ^ "Jakks Signs Deal with Baby Genius". License! Magazine. UBM Advanstar. January 13, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  37. ^ "Baby Genius Toys Debut at Toy Fair". License! Magazine. UBM Advanstar. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  38. ^ "Pacific Entertainment Corporation Changes Name and Ticker" (Press release). Reuters. GLOBE NEWSWIRE. December 6, 2011. Retrieved 2016-05-16.[dead link]
  39. ^ Dickson, Jeremy (July 30, 2013). "Genius Brands goes deeper into digital world". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  40. ^ Heyward, Andy (December 19, 2017). "Genius Brands International, Inc. Issues Shareholder Letter". Yahoo Finance. Genius Brands International, Inc. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  41. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (March 28, 2016). "Debra Pierson Appointed GM of Kid Genius Channel". Animation Magazine. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  42. ^ a b c Milligan, Mercedes (February 2, 2017). "Kid Genius Cartoon Channel Launches Across OTTs". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  43. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (February 9, 2017). "Kid Genius Cartoon Channel Adds Bilingual 'LaGolda' Toon". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  44. ^ Ng, Philiana (April 4, 2012). "Martha Stewart's 'Martha & Friends' Gets Ready for Easter". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  45. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (October 7, 2014). "'Thomas Edison's Secret Lab' To Debut in 2015". Animation Magazine. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  46. ^ a b Milligan, Mercedes (October 13, 2017). "MIPCOM & MIP Junior News Bytes". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  47. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (January 14, 2016). "GBI to Debut 'Spacepop' in Summer 2016". Animation World Network. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  48. ^ a b Milligan, Mercedes (July 30, 2015). "NCircle to Bring 'Llama Llama' Home". Animation Magazine.
  49. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (December 14, 2017). "Genius Brands' 'Llama Llama' Premieres on Netflix in January". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  50. ^ Petski, Denise (April 25, 2017). "'Rainbow Rangers': Nickelodeon Acquires CGI-Animated Preschool Series From Genius Brands Int'l". Deadline. Penske Business Media. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  51. ^ McLean, Tom (January 15, 2018). "APC Kids Distributing Genius Brands 'Rainbow Rangers' in EMEA". Animation World Network. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  52. ^ Elizabeth Foster, Elizabeth (December 12, 2017). "Macmillan scoops up Rainbow Rangers license". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  53. ^ Foster, Elizabeth (December 17, 2018). "Rainbow Rangers hits the road". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  54. ^ Couch, Aaron (May 29, 2019). "Arnold Schwarzenegger Lending Voice to 'Stan Lee's Superhero Kindergarten'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  55. ^ White, Peter (October 14, 2019). "China's Youku To Co-Produce Arnold Schwarzenegger's Kids' Series 'Stan Lee's Superhero Kindergarten' – Mipcom". Deadline. Retrieved June 10, 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 3 January 2022, at 17:23
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