Genius Brands International Inc. (GNUS:NASDAQ), which creates and licenses animated entertainment content, today announced the "launch of its new free digital Kartoon Channel! on June 15, to be available in over 100 million U.S. television households and over 200 million mobile devices, across multiple AVOD, OTT and cable platforms, including Amazon Prime, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Apple IOS, Android, Roku, DISH, Sling TV, Comcast's Xfinity on Demand, Cox, Tubi, Xumo, SelectTV, Redbox, Plex, and YouTube."
The firm stated that Kartoon Channel!'s launch will be spearheaded by its executive team and will feature themed programming events throughout the summer such as "Friday Family Fun Film™" series marathons, on-air talent interviews with viewer interaction and holiday-themed specials. The company indicated that as part of the rollout, Kartoon Channel! will be offering 1,000 episodes of family-friendly content along with 3,000 episodes of additional premium content.
Genius Brands' Chairman & CEO Andy Heyward remarked, "Described as like a 'Netflix for kids, but free,' Kartoon Channel! will have many of the world's most recognized children's brands, from many of the world's most successful creators of children's and family content. With content coming from the late Stan Lee, for example; distribution through the likes of Amazon Prime/Amazon Fire, Apple TV/Apple IOS, Android, Roku and DISH, among others; and proven value building programmers…like Margaret, David, and Caroline, this is like putting rocket fuel in a Ferrari and having the Championship Formula 1 driving team at the wheel...Margaret founded and built Fox Kids Network, a product that was eventually sold to the Walt Disney Company for $5.5 billion. David Neuman was President of Walt Disney Television. Caroline Tyre was part of the team that brought Cartoon Network, Teletoon Retro, and Adult Swim to Canada. This is a team that knows how to build value."
Heyward noted, "Unlike other subscription services, Kartoon Channel! is an ad-supported service and will be 100% free, making it available to all."
The company mentioned that the Kartoon Channel! content has been curated through a program code developed in consultation with Stanford University Professor Emeritus Don Roberts. Together under the leadership of Professor Roberts, the code ensures there will be no violence, no negative stereotypes, no inappropriate language, no degradation of the environment, and no excess commercialization.
Heyward continued, "We serve a very special audience and our role is not just to entertain, but whenever possible to enrich the young viewers with programs from which they can come away smarter...Warren Buffett's Secret Millionaires Club teaches kids lessons in business and Llama Llama, for example, is a metaphor for a single mom raising her kids, imparting strong values of self-confidence and responsibility."
Margaret Loesch, executive chairman of Kartoon Channel!, commented, "We are thrilled to provide a smart and safe destination for kids and their families with the launch of Kartoon Channel!...David Neuman, who oversees creative, and myself, working with General Manager Caroline Tyre, will be seeking ways to grow the channel to deliver a unique viewing experience that offers the very best in kids and family entertainment."
Genius Brands International, based in Beverly Hills, Calif., describes itself as a "leading global kids media company developing, producing, marketing and licensing branded children’s entertainment properties and consumer products for media and retail distribution."
Genius Brands has a market capitalization of around $332.4 million with approximately 96.34 million shares outstanding. GNUS shares opened nearly 26% higher today at $4.34 (+$0.89, +25.60%) over yesterday's $3.45 closing price. The stock has traded today between $3.67 and $4.80 per share and is currently trading at $4.04 (+$0.59, +17.10%).[NLINSERT]
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