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Genius Brands Moves to NYSE, Renames as Kartoon Studios

An animated ‘Stan Lee’ will ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange June 26 – exemplifying continued expansion of the IP under the new corporate name; the event will stream live on Kartoon Channel!

Genius Brands International, Inc. announced a name change to Kartoon Studios and plans to transfer its listing from the Nasdaq Capital Market (Nasdaq) to the NYSE American exchange (NYSE American). Under its new name, the company expects to start trading on the NYSE American exchange when markets open on Monday, June 26, 2023. That day the company’s common stock will begin trading under a new trading symbol, “TOON,” and a new CUSIP number, 37229T 509. It will continue to trade on Nasdaq under its current trading symbol, “GNUS” until the close of market on Friday, June 23, 2023.

An animated Stan Lee will ring the opening bell of the NYSE on June 26, an indication of the company’s plans to expand on its Stan Lee IP under its new moniker. The event will stream live on Kartoon Channel!

The company controls the post-Marvel IP of Stan Lee, which was initially brought to market with a 20-year license to Marvel and the Walt Disney Company, and brand initiative commemorating Stan’s 100th anniversary at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2023.

“The name change from Genius Brands to Kartoon Studios was conceived to reflect the core DNA of the company, making high quality and socially responsible animated cartoons for children, distributing them worldwide, and licensing consumer products based on the character images,” commented Genius Brands Chairman & CEO Andy Heyward. “In conjunction with the renaming of the company, we are transitioning our stock listing to the NYSE American exchange, which we believe is more aligned with our strategy to become a leading provider of children’s entertainment. NYSE is home to major multimedia powerhouses like Disney, SONY, Roblox, AMC, and others. We are heading into our next phase of growth, so the timing is ideal for us as a company and our shareholders to make the move. I encourage investors to join ‘Stan Lee,’ along with management and the board, as he rings the NYSE opening bell on June 26, 2023, to celebrate this momentous occasion.”

Heyward explained that the “defining focus of our new ‘Kartoon’ and animation rebranding reflects the recent vertical integration of the business following several acquisitions over the past year, including WOW! Unlimited Media in Canada and its subsidiaries Frederator Studios, Frederator Network and Mainframe Entertainment; Ameba TV; Beacon Media; as well as taking a major stake in Germany’s Your Family Entertainment, the largest children’s animation catalog in Europe.”

“We now have capabilities to do everything in-house, from content creation to production, distribution, and global merchandising,” he added. “Along with its name changes, the company is also expanding its content across wider demographics, ranging from toddlers to young adults, including its recently launched series, Shaq’s Garage, which premiered on Pluto TV. It stars and is co-produced by NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.”

Through the company’s Frederator Studios subsidiary, it aims to develop content for a broader audience. Heyward noted, “We have an exclusive deal with BuzzFeed Animation Lab to develop select properties into full series based on hit YouTube shorts, including Chikn’ Nuggit. Frederator also signed a deal with Jimmy Kimmel’s Wheelhouse DNA and YouTuber Adam Waheed ‘Adam W’ for an animated series. Concurrently, the company’s series, Bee and PuppyCat, co-produced with TOHO of Japan, has been a breakout hit that led to a Netflix series and merchandise program with Hot Topic.”

“While other companies in the entertainment industry are struggling and declining in the current economic market and industry challenges, Kartoon Studios continues to rapidly grow, best illustrated by a nearly eight-fold increase in revenue for 2022,” noted Heyward. “Multiple new productions are in various stages of development,” said Heyward. “The company is in development on Blue Origin Space Rangers, in partnership with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Michael Strahan’s SMAC productions. And finally, we are in development on Wolfgang Puck’s Chef Academy, in collaboration with the world’s pioneering celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck.”

“The Kartoon Channel! distribution platform, under the leadership of Walt Disney veterans Todd Steinman domestically and Paul Robinson internationally, continues to grow worldwide,” he continued. “In the U.S., the platform has 100% television household market penetration across a broad range of distribution platforms, including Comcast, Cox, DISH, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Apple iOS, Android TV, Android Mobil, Google Play, Xumo, Roku, Tubi, YouTube,, Samsung Smart TVs and LG TVs, as well as on multiple airline entertainment systems.”

Heyward concluded, “Internationally, Kartoon Channel! is currently available in key territories around the world, including the recently announced Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa (StarTimes), Australia and New Zealand (Samsung TV Plus), Germany (Waipu), Philippines (Tapp Digital). Kartoon Channel! branded blocks are also currently available daily in 69 countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, and Europe.”

Source: Genius Brands

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.