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Genius Brands International Ups Stone Newman to President

Industry veteran Jo Kavanagh-Payne Joins GBI as senior vice president, global distribution, overseeing catalog content sales.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA -- Genius Brands International, Inc. (GBI) has promoted Stone Newman to President of Global Consumer Products, Worldwide Content Sales & Marketing. The announcement was made by GBI’s Chairman & CEO Andy Heyward, to whom Newman continues to report.

In his new role, Newman, who joined GBI in 2014 as President of Global Consumer Products, will add oversight of the Company’s global content distribution business for its catalog of animated properties, including SpacePOP, Llama Llama, Baby Genius, Secret Millionaires Club and Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab, as well as an all-new preschool property currently in development. Newman will also manage the worldwide rollout of the adult animated series, Stan Lee’s Cosmic Crusaders. He will continue to oversee and manage all of GBI’s licensing, merchandising, retail and marketing efforts, including appointing and managing the Company’s growing team of leading licensing agencies in key markets around the world.

Supporting Newman in his new role, GBI has named Jo Kavanagh-Payne Senior Vice President of Global Distribution, spearheading the Company’s worldwide content sales efforts. Kavanagh-Payne will drive GBI’s distribution business, identifying potential co-production partners and advising on the development of new and acquired properties for international and domestic distribution. In addition to her role at GBI, Kavanagh-Payne will continue to serve as CEO of Foothill Entertainment.

“Stone has been instrumental in driving GBI’s growth through unique and strategic initiatives, including pioneering the digital distribution strategy for the recent successful launch of SpacePOP,” stated Heyward.  “His relationships, experience and knowledge of the global marketplace have been and continues to be tremendously beneficial, and I look forward to his contributions in realizing the goals of both maximizing the opportunities for our myriad brands and multiplying the properties under GBI’s umbrella. Jo will also be a tremendous asset in meeting these objectives, and we are thrilled to welcome her to the GBI executive team.”

“These past two years have been an exciting whirlwind of opportunities as we’ve introduced GBI’s ‘content with a purpose’ concept through fresh, appealing properties to the worldwide licensing, merchandising and retailing communities,” added Newman.  “I am very enthusiastic about what we can accomplish in the months and years ahead and look forward to working with Jo in executing Andy’s vision for GBI’s long term growth and continued development.”

“I’m very proud to be representing GBI’s content catalog in the worldwide marketplace,” said Kavanagh-Payne. “I’m impressed with the company’s efforts in developing entertaining programming that inspires and ignites the minds of its young viewers and am very eager to work with Stone on expanding the roster of distribution partners for each of these engaging properties.”

Newman joined GBI from Art + Science International, Inc., a boutique licensing agency he founded. He is an accomplished entrepreneur who also founded and built Sababa Toys from a start-up into a $30MM toy and game manufacturer with product presence in more than 50,000 retail stores. He also worked in marketing and licensing at Hasbro Toys.

Kavangh-Payne founded Foothill Entertainment with her husband, Gregory Payne, in September 2000. Prior to Foothill Entertainment, Kavanagh-Payne spent 16 years in international content distribution, handling all facets of sales as well as acquisitions and strategic planning for children’s and family programming. Originally based in London, Kavanagh-Payne moved to Los Angeles in 1995 to establish and supervise the U.S. office for London’s Link Entertainment.

Source: Genius Brands International, Inc.