Genius Brands expands Kartoon Channel! on Roku

Following the success of the Kartoon Channel! app and content on the Rokuâ platform, Genius Brands International has announced that it will offer a dedicated Kartoon Channel! on The Roku Channel, further expanding the channel’s presence on Roku.

The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 80 million people in Q4 2021. Users now have access to Kartoon Channel!’s full content slate of original programming and children’s brands, including Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; the new fast-paced trivia original gameshow series for kids, KC! Pop Quiz, hosted by Nickelodeon star Casey Simpson, and Rainbow Rangers, as well as classics such as Baby Genius, Pac-Man and more.

“As we begin rolling out the new Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse, we’re excited to share that in less than two years we are fully distributed in the U.S., reaching millions of viewers across multiple platforms. We are now further enhancing our offering to consumers by bringing The Roku Channel on board as a media partner, significantly expanding our presence in the digital marketplace,” says Genius Brands’ Jon Ollwerther, President, Kartoon Channel!.


Genius Brands launches first Kartoon Channel! in Asia Pacific

Following the recent announcement of the first international launch of Kartoon Channel! in the Middle East, North Africa and across Latin America, Genius Brands International has announced the further expansion of the Kartoon Channel! brand in the Asia Pacific region with the launch of the channel on Samsung TV Plus in Australia starting March 23.

Spearheaded by Managing Director of Kartoon Channel! Worldwide Paul Robinson, who previously served as Managing Director of Walt Disney Television International and Senior Vice President Disney Channel Worldwide, Genius Brands is working with Hong Kong-based agent Lightning International to further expand the reach of Kartoon Channel! internationally through launches on FAST channels, AVOD, SVOD, OTT, mobile devices, and more.

Delivering thousands of episodes of carefully curated free family-friendly content, Kartoon Channel! features animated classics for little kids, including The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, Babar, Mello Dees, Super Simple Songs, and Baby Genius, as well as  hit content for bigger kids, such as Pac-Man, Angry Birds, and Yu-Gi-Oh!, to original programming like Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, KC! Pop Quiz, hosted by Casey Simpson, and coming this year, Shaq’s Garage, starring Shaquille O’Neal. Kartoon Channel! also offers STEM-based content through its Kartoon Classroom!, including Baby Einstein, and more.

Paul Robinson says: “With Kartoon Channel! and Kartoon Genius programming blocks now available in the Middle East, North Africa, Central America and South America with launches planned in Central Europe, we are thrilled to begin our growth in Asia Pacific with our debut on Samsung TV Plus in Australia. We look forward to working with Lightning International in the coming months to expedite the growth of Kartoon Channel! throughout the region.”

Kartoon Channel! Worldwide expands global reach

Kartoon Channel! makes senior hire for newly announced KC! Kidaverse

Genius Brands International has announced the appointment of Todd Steinman to the Kartoon Channel! Executive Team as Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer of the Company’s recently announced Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse.

Growth-marketing expert Steinman most recently served as Vice President in the Direct to Consumer and International division at The Walt Disney Company, which included Disney+ during its launch. He helped create solutions to leverage the Walt Disney Company’s  portfolio of linear and digital brands, including DISNEY, HULU, ESPN, ABC, FREEFORM, FX, and Nat Geo, while setting strategy for ad sales and revenue teams.

Prior to his role at The Walt Disney Company, Steinman co-founded the digital media agency M80, and then led the NBC Universal media team for WPP after they acquired M80. He negotiated multi-million-dollar annual media deals with Google/YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Disney, Twitter, Snapchat, Spotify, and others, while managing an annual budget north of $1billion.

Steinman will report to Jon Ollwerther, President of Kartoon Channel! and KC! Kidaverse, who stated: “Todd has a history of driving growth for the most important names in entertainment. With the announcement of the KC! Kidaverse, and the acquisition of Ameba TV, Kartoon Channel! has reached a new inflection point, and I could not be more thrilled to welcome an executive of Todd’s calibre to help take our business to the next level.”

“There is an electric excitement about the Kartoon Channel! and KC! Kidaverse in the kids and family market,” said Steinman, “It’s a breakthrough concept, and I’m looking forward to bringing all my expertise to help drive it forward.”

Genius Brands unveils global distribution strategy for Kartoon Channel! Worldwide

Following the pending acquisition of Canada’s WOW! Unlimited Media Inc. and strategic investment in Germany’s Your Family Entertainment AG, Genius Brands has unveiled a new “block” of children’s animated series and expanded distribution for its international channels.

The new lineup and branding is spearheaded by Kartoon Channel! Worldwide’s new Managing Director Paul Robinson, who previously served as Managing Director of Walt Disney Television International and Senior Vice President Disney Channel Worldwide.

The new block on the YFE International channels will be branded KARTOON GENIUS and will deliver positive entertainment for children, underscored by “safety and enrichment”.

KARTOON GENIUS will air every morning on Genius Brands International’s new channel footprint across Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, and is the first step in enhancing the quality and range of content on YFE’s existing platforms.

“With his background as Managing Director of Walt Disney Television International and his successful history setting up children’s content delivery systems worldwide, there is nobody in my opinion more qualified than Paul Robinson to build value for this company and create the next great global children’s distribution system,” says Genius Brands Chairman & CEO Andy Heyward.

Paul Robinson commented: “I am pleased to announce the first global initiative to enhance and deliver even better content and experiences to kids, families, and our affiliate partners across international markets through KARTOON GENIUS, a daily block of top quality, exclusive, branded, first run animated content, that will be defined by being not just entertaining, but also by being safe and enriching.

“In today’s world, more than ever, parents want to know that what their kids are watching on television is safe. We hear this over and over again, and Genius Brands is committed to fulfilling it not only as a producer, but also now as a global broadcaster through Kartoon Channel! Worldwide.

“There will be no violence, no inappropriate language, images, negative role models, or stereotypes. Kartoon Channel! in the U.S. has embraced these messages, which we plan to now elevate globally to the next level through our expanded lineup and increased distribution footprint across Europe/Middle East/Africa, Asia-Pacific, and South America. We believe that there is no other global channel system for children out there delivering this level quality of curated safe content today.”

KARTOON GENUIS’ new global lineup will include first run and exclusive content led by:

  • Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten (pictured), starring Arnold Schwarzenegger: health, exercise and nutrition
  • Rainbow Rangers: protecting the environment
  • Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaires Club: financial literacy for kids
  • Albert: answering kid’s questions, such as the origins of life and how things work
  • Space Yoghurt: creative problem solving and teamwork
  • Kids Songs: have fun, sing together and get up and dance
  • Reboot: adventures around the first fully computer-generated characters

Robinson adds: “Kartoon Channel! Worldwide plans to grow the existing footprint of its YFE international channels by partnering across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australasia with pay tv platforms that currently don’t carry the channel and need a high quality, safe children’s channel.

“Additionally, as Kartoon Channel! has done in the U.S., we plan to expand distribution in the international markets on connected devices, smart TVs, tablets and mobile devices, with access through Android TV and Apple TV, as well as AVoD, SVoD and FAST channels in international markets.”

Andy Heyward commented: “This launch immediately follows and builds upon the Company’s pending acquisition of WOW! Unlimited Media and strategic investment into YFE, as one of Europe’s largest distributors and broadcasters of high-quality programs for children and families.

“YFE brings a global award-winning streaming and broadcast footprint on satellite, cable, OTT, and terrestrial networks—providing us a streaming foothold outside the United States, in Europe, and the rest of the world.

“The vision of YFE’s CEO Stefan Piech, and the broadcast experience of COO Bernd Wendeln, enriches the Genius Brands’ management team and helps position the Company to become the leading children’s content provider and broadcaster in the future.”

Genius Brands acquires slate of classic content for Kartoon Channel! as it promotes Jon Ollwerther to channel president

Genius Brands International is continuing to grow its content offering with the acquisition of a slate of animated hits, including The Adventures of Paddington Bear, Trollz, Super Matio Bros., and more. The new slate lands amid a raft of deals with content partners Nelvana, WildBrain, and ABC Australia.

The move follows a period of recent developments for Genius Brands International, who has not only seen the successful premiere of Stan Lee’s Super Hero Kindergarten, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, on Kartoon Channel! but appointed a new president of the channel in the shape of Jon Ollwerther, previously Kartoon Channel’s general manager.

Ollwerther, president of Kartoon Channel, and EVP of business development of Genius Brands, said: “We are continuing to grow Kartoon Channel! each month, with more and more viewers enjoying what we believe is the very best combination of original, exclusive, and acquired content in the kid’s entertainment industry, including our hit Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger

“With Lou Fazio, former executive director of programming and acquisitions at Disney Channel, leading the charge, we are excited about our content pipeline, including 240 hours of newly acquired content from partners, including WildBrain, ABC Australia, and Nelvana, which will begin to premier on Kartoon Channel! in June.”

The new content acquisitions for Kartoon Channel! include classic and new popular series and feature films. From WildBrain, Genius Brands has licensed the rights toSuper Mario Bros.,  The Adventures of Paddington Bear, Trollz, Madeline, and Liberty’s Kids.

From Nelvana, movies and series acquired for Kartoon Channel! include Donkey Kong Country, movie specials from the Franklin franchise, including Franklin and the Green Knight, Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure, A Franklin and Friends Adventure: Polar Explorer, A Franklin and Friends Adventure: Deep Sea Voyage, Franklin Back to School, and Franklin’s Magic Christmas, and lastly, The Santa Clause Brothers movie special.

ABC Australia has licensed to the Kartoon Channel! the rights to The Wiggles World, Wiggle Pop special (75 mins), among others.

Genius Brands International launches Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten on Kartoon Channel

Genius Brands International has detailed the official launch of Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, streaming exclusively on Kartoon Channel and premiering with a two-episode double feature later this month.

One of the last creations from the mind of the late Stan Lee, the series stars the voice of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also serves as executive producer on the series. The action-adventure comedy series is geared towards kids and families and focuses on six children who are learning to master their super skills.

“This is a deeply personal project for me and I am so pumped to introduce it to the world,” said Schwarzenegger. “Not only has it allowed me to bring to life the work of the fantastic Stan Lee, but the series also touches on subjects I’ve spent my whole life working on, from health and fitness tips and anti-bullying messages, to inclusivity and diversity.

“It brings me great joy to share that messaging with kids in a way that is vibrant, dynamic, and most important – fun. It’s an honour to have worked with Stan Lee and I know he would be proud of the message we’re delivering.”

 It all began five years ago when Arnold Armstrong faced off in a final fight against his nemesis, the evil Dr. Superior, that left him powerless. Little did anyone know that during the fight, super-energy particles rained down on a group of unsuspecting toddlers. Now, those toddlers are kindergarten students at Greenville Elementary School who, with the help of Arnold Armstrong, must learn to control their powers as they go on super adventures.

Arnold Armstrong’s mission is to train these kids to use their super-powers safely and without wrecking the school or revealing their identities.

The series includes 26 half-hour long episodes that begins with a two-episode double feature and will be rolled out on a weekly basis thereafter.

Mondo TV to make new waves in the US with Genius Brands’ Kartoon Channel

The European animated content distributor, Mondo TV is preparing to make new waves in the US when it launches its children’s animated comedy series, Invention Story, to the AVOD/SVOD market via Genius Brands International’s own Kartoon Channel.

The series will land on the channel this autumn. Kartoon Channel is distributed across major cable and satellite providers, as well as OTT platforms across the US. The channel is available 24/7 on a variety of platforms in the region, including Apple TV devices, Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Roku Devices, and more with further platforms rolling out in the coming months.

Kartoon Channel prides itself on a roster of content that is ‘smart and safe’ for children. It boasts that all ‘programmes are carefully curates to not only be entertaining and enriching, but also to ensure there is no violence, negative stereotypes or inappropriate language.’ It also promises content that receives no ‘excessive commercialisation.’

Meanwhile, Invention Story follows the tale of Kit, an intelligent, thoughtful and creative fox who – in each episode – comes up with a new invention. The series has already launched in Italy, Russia, Hungary and China. It is also on Kidoodle.TV, a hybrid AVOD / SVOD channel, which has launched in all countries worldwide except China.

In the US, Hispanic pay TV leader Vme Media is distributing the show on English-language network Primo TV later this year. 

Luana Perrero, Mondo TV’s head of content sales, said: “The launch of Invention Story on an innovative new free digital service that can reach just about every family in the whole US, is a cause for celebration. The arrival of Invention Story on Kartoon Channel! is an important strategic step for one of Mondo TV’s fastest-growing properties and we’re delighted to be working with Genius Brands on bringing this funny, smart and highly original new show to the vast US audience.”

Genius Brands’ Kartoon Channel! acquires Sonic the Hedgehog and Pac-Man animated series

The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Pac-Man and The Ghostly Adventures are the latest children’s series to be landing on Genius Brands’ recently launched Kartoon Channel! app. The streaming rights to the two animated series were acquired from 41 Entertainment as GBI continues to build its animated content offering.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures features the classic video game character Pac-Man in a series that follows his daily adventures, alongside his loyal crew Cyli and Spiral. Together they protect Pac-World from a ghostly army led by the evil Betrayus.

Pac-Man was originally conceived in 1980 when the franchise rose to fame via its arcade video games. Pac-Man went on to make an array of branding and entertainment appearances, becoming one of the most recognised video game characters on the planet. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the video game franchise that can be credited with kick-starting a pop culture movement.

Meanwhile, Kartoon Channel! has also secured 26 episodes of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, a series based on the blockbuster video game series from SEGA. This light-hearted adventure series emphasizes positive themes for kids about personal safety and interpersonal relationships.

The series stars Sonic and his friend Tails as they work to thwart the machinations of Dr Robotnik and his henchmen Scratch, Grounder, and Coconuts.

“Our mission in creating Kartoon Channel! has always been to deliver the best of the best in children’s entertainment, and we are excited to add these two series, featuring popular characters that are proven winners and that kids love,” said Caroline Tyre, general manager of Kartoon Channel!

Genius Brands International rolls out its Kartoon Channel! app to iOS as it looks to take on Netflix and Disney+

Genius Brands International has extended the launch of its new, free digital Kartoon Channel to iOS with a new dedicated Kartoon Channel! app available on Apple iOS. It follows it initial launch across multiple AVOD and OTT platforms last month.

Kartoon Channel! was launched onto the scene as a rival to the Netflix and Disney+ streaming platforms, to offer kids a library of content, including Genius Brands originals and acquired content including the likes of Babar, Angry Birds, Stan Lee’s Mighty7, Baby Genius, Llama Llama, and more.

It’s according to GBI that the Kartoon Channel! has already seen a ‘groundswell of growth’ since its launch on June 15th 2020.

Margaret Loesch, executive chairman of Kartoon Channel!, said: “There are great platforms available today for kids, such as Netflix and Disney+, however, they are pay platforms.”

Andy Heyward, Genius Brands Chairman and CEO, added: “There are two attributes that distinguish Kartoon Channel! from them. First, our Kartoon Channel! is free. When we launched this platform, we were very clear that we would be ‘like a Netflix for kids, but free’.

“In today’s times where families are challenged to make budgets work, having a high-quality free on-demand content service for kids is a huge point of value. The second, and no less important, our channel offers Curated Content. At a time when kids are home from school and camps are largely closed, we are bringing children content that is value-driven and enriching, and not just “empty viewing calories.”

The Kartoon Channel! and the new complementary iOS app offer access to a wide variety of family-friendly content, with more added daily, featuring Genius Brands originals and acquired content, including Babar, Angry Birds, Stan Lee’s Mighty7, Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab, Baby Einstein, Baby Genius, Llama Llama shorts, Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaires Club and more.

Additionally, Genius Brands is adding more family-friendly gaming content, including Minecraft’s Journey to the End and Fairy Horse Quest, Octodad, PixArk, and Big B Roblox Challenge, from Tankee. Genius Brands will also premiere on Kartoon Channel! the upcoming comedy-adventure series, Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, currently in pre-production and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, on Kartoon Channel! in Q1 2021. Additionally, the Kartoon Channel! app features a camera mode with filter capabilities for hours of safe entertainment for young ones.