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GENIUS BRANDS ANNOUNCES NAME CHANGE TO ‘KARTOON STUDIOS’

14 Jun - 2023

Genius Brands International, Inc. has announced that the Company will be changing its name to Kartoon Studios.

In connection with the name change, the Company plans to transfer its listing from the Nasdaq Capital Market (“Nasdaq”) to the NYSE American exchange (“NYSE American”).

Kartoon Studios is expected to commence trading on the NYSE American exchange when markets open on Monday, June 26, 2023. Effective that date, the Company’s common stock will begin trading under a new trading symbol, “TOON,” and a new CUSIP number37229T 509. The Company will continue to trade on Nasdaq under its current trading symbol, “GNUS” until the close of market on Friday, June 23, 2023.

The Company also reports that “STAN LEE,” via animation, will ring the opening bell of the NYSE on June 26th, reflecting the emphasis on STAN LEE created IP going forward for Kartoon Studios. Anyone that would like to join in on the celebration, can livestream the bell-ringing at the NYSE American exchange on Kartoon Channel!

The Company, through its interest in STAN LEE UNIVERSE, controls the name, likeness, signature, consumer product licensing, and  post-Marvel IP, of Stan Lee, which it has commenced to bring to market beginning with a 20-year license to Marvel and the Walt Disney Company, and a major branding initiative commemorating Stan’s 100th anniversary at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2023.

Andy Heyward, Chairman & CEO of Genius Brands, commented: “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. 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”.

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 catalogue in Europe.  We now have capabilities to do everything in-house, from content creation to production, distribution and global merchandising”. 

At the same time, the Company is also expanding its content across wider demographics, ranging from toddlers to young adults, including its recently launched hit series, SHAQ’S GARAGE, which premiered on Pluto TV, starring and co-produced by NBA legend, Shaquille O’Neal, which caters to a younger audience. 

Additionally, through our Frederator Studios subsidiary, we have several initiatives in content development that skew to a broader audience. 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 YouTube sensation 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. Multiple new productions are in various stages of development.

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. In the US, 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, KartoonChannel.com, Samsung Smart TVs and LG TVs, as well as on multiple airline entertainment systems. 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”.

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