Kartoon Channel! Worldwide expands global reach

Leveraging its strategic investment in Germany’s Your Family Entertainment (YFE) to expand the Kartoon Channel! global footprint, Genius Brands International has announced the launch of the new Kartoon Channel! Worldwide programming block, “Kartoon Genius,” across Latin America and the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region, reaching 67 countries.

This week, the Kartoon Genius two-hour, Monday – Friday programming block premieres across the MENA region on the pan-regional linear Pay TV channel, fully dubbed in Arabic and English. On March 7, the programming block debuted throughout Central & South America on 24/7 linear, offering content in Spanish and English.

The Kartoon Genius programming blocks offer first-run original content on these platforms and aims to deliver positive entertainment for children and families, underscored by safety and enrichment. Series on the programming block line-up include Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, Llama Llama, Rainbow Rangers, Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaires Club, Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab, and more.

Managing Director of Kartoon Channel! Worldwide, Paul Robinson, says: “Positive and uplifting children’s entertainment is more in demand today than ever. Since announcing our commitment to launch the Kartoon Channel! internationally less than three months ago, we are off to a fantastic start with pan-regional launches within the next two weeks across The Middle East, North Africa, Central America and South America on the programme platforms through Genius Brands’ investment in YFE.

“The growth of the Kartoon Channel! over the past two years in the U.S., headed by Jon Ollwerther, has been tremendous.  Despite the global challenges, children’s entertainment is timeless and enduring. We are extremely excited about the many opportunities we have to bring the channel to the rest of the world and to build it into the preeminent entertainment destination for kids.”

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 expands into Europe with acquisition of German company Your Family Entertainment AG

Following the recent acquisition of Canada’s WOW! Unlimited Media, Genius Brands International has entered into an agreement to initially acquire a 28.6% interest in Your Family Entertainment AG,to be followed by a mandatory tender offer of the outstanding shares of YFE.

YFE is one of Europe’s largest distributors and broadcasters of high-quality programmes for children and families, which brings a global award-winning streaming and broadcast footprint on satellite, cable, OTT, and terrestrial networks.

YFE controls over 4,000 animated episodes and feature films, with distribution through its streaming and linear kids’ channels across 100 countries with more than 50M households reached, including free-to-air, pay TV and digital subscription channels in Germany, Austria & Switzerland.

The YFE transaction, alongside the recent announcement of the acquisition of WOW! Unlimited Media, will significantly expand the Genius Brands catalogue and give the company a streaming foothold outside the United States in Europe and the rest of the world, from which it expects to fuel growth.

The announcement was made today jointly by Andy Heyward, Chairman & CEO of Genius Brands, and Dr. Stefan Piëch, CEO of YFE.

YFE, subject to YFE shareholder approval, will be renamed Genius Family Entertainment AG, and will operate its children’s networks under the brand Kartoon Channel! Worldwide. YFE will maintain its independent listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and will be run by the current Management Board of Dr. Piëch and Bernd Wendeln.

Genius Brands and YFE share the goals of bringing “Content with a Purpose” to children worldwide. Dr. Piëch is a recognized world leader in developing and promoting children’s content that supports environmental causes, sustainability, and is non-violent.

Concurrently, it was also announced that Paul Robinson, former Managing Director of Disney Television International and Senior Vice President Disney Channel Worldwide, will become Managing Director of Kartoon Channel! Worldwide and oversee the international buildout and growth of Kartoon Channel!