Monday, July 15, 2019

Genius Brands Enters Next Significant Phase of Growth With Launch of Branded 'Rainbow Rangers' Merchandise at Retail

Original Genius Brands International, Inc. Press Release via GlobeNewswire:

Genius Brands International, Inc. Enters Next Significant Phase of Growth With Launch of Branded Merchandise at Retail for Rainbow Rangers and Llama Llama

Leveraging Hit Children’s Content into Licensed Products Across Key Categories for Mass and Mid-Market, Specialty, and Online Retail Distribution

Genius Brands International's Rainbow Rangers and Llama Llama Branded Merchandise Hits Retail Shelves

In 2019 through 2020, Genius Brands International (Nasdaq:GNUS) plans to debut over 450 SKUs of branded merchandise combined based on its two flagship preschool series, Rainbow Rangers, an original series which currently airs on Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr.; and Llama Llama, which stars Jennifer Garner and is available on Netflix.

Genius Brands International, Inc.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., July 15, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Genius Brands International, Inc. (“Genius Brands”) (NASDAQ: GNUS), the global brand management company that creates and licenses multimedia entertainment content for children, announces that it is has entered the next phase of its growth, expanding beyond content development, production and distribution into product merchandising, as licensed consumer products tied to the Company’s two hit flagship series, Rainbow Rangers and Llama Llama, begin to hit shelves in Q3 and Q4 2019.

In 2019 through 2020, Genius Brands plans to debut over 450 SKUs of branded merchandise combined for Rainbow Rangers, which currently airs on Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr., and Llama Llama, available on Netflix. The first products from the extensive Rainbow Rangers program began rolling out this month, including apparel from Bentex, available on Amazon; and bicycles from Dynacraft, available at Walmart.com, Target.com, and Kohl's.com, which will be available in August with plans to expand distribution through storefront channels. In September, the Company will unveil Halloween costumes from Disguise at Walmart, Party City and online retailers; and a Halloween retail program with Rainbow Rangers’ costumes will be available in approximately 1,200 Spirit stores. Additional Rainbow Rangers’ products planned to launch this year include stationery items from Inkology, all-natural chewable vitamins from Integrity Vitamins and more.

Genius Brands has already debuted a range of products for Llama Llama, including plush toys from Kids Preferred available at Walmart.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Buy Buy Baby, Wegmans and more; activity books from Bendon Publishing available at Michael’s and Dollar General; DVDs from NCircle Entertainment available at Walmart, Target and online; puzzles available at Go Retail shops and online; Decopac’s cake design and decorating kits available at grocery and bakery stores; and party accessories from Prime Party and Creative Converting available at online retailers. In Q3 and Q4, additional Llama Llama branded products will debut at retail, including books from Scholastic; Halloween costumes at Halloween.com/Fun.com, the largest online purveyor of costumes; holiday ornaments from Kurt Adler; and holiday plush from Cuddle Barn.

“Given the success of Rainbow Rangers and Llama Llama, I am pleased to report we are now transitioning into the next phase of our growth, which includes product merchandising around these two hit series,” said Andy Heyward, CEO of Genius Brands International. “Our goal from the start, which I have communicated often over the past few years, has been to leverage our content strategy into product merchandising, and we are achieving that goal now, as planned, with nearly every conceivable consumer product category licensed for Rainbow Rangers and Llama Llama. Moreover, our partners are among the top manufacturers, from toys by Mattel, to vitamins by Integrity Vitamins, to bikes by Dynacraft and apparel by Bentex. In total, we have over 450 licensed SKUs for Rainbow Rangers and Llama Llama scheduled to come to market over the next twelve months, as well as a planned nationwide live tour for Rainbow Rangers from Gershwin Entertainment that will debut in Bentonville, Arkansas. We look forward to providing further updates as future products hit the market.”

About Genius Brands International
Headquartered in Beverly Hills, Genius Brands International, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNUS) is a leading global kids media company developing, producing, marketing and licensing branded children’s entertainment properties and consumer products for media and retail distribution. The Company’s “content with a purpose” brand portfolio, which is led by award-winning creators and producers, includes the new action-adventure animated series for children, Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; flagship preschool properties, Rainbow Rangers for Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr., and Netflix Original Llama Llama, starring Jennifer Garner; award-winning toddler brand, Baby Genius; adventure comedy STEM series, Thomas Edison's Secret Lab; and financial literacy and entrepreneurship series, Warren Buffett's Secret Millionaires Club. The Company’s content catalog also includes the animated series, Stan Lee's Cosmic Crusaders, created with Stan Lee's Pow! Entertainment. Seeing the need to provide kids and parents with a safe viewing environment that offers premium enriching and engaging programming, Genius Brands launched the Genius Brands Network – comprised of Kid Genius Cartoon Channel and Baby Genius TV, as well as an exclusive Kid Genius Cartoons Plus subscription channel on Amazon Prime. The Network channels are available in approximately 80 million U.S. households via a variety of distribution platforms, such as OTT, set-top box, internet, and mobile. Through licensing agreements with category leading partners, characters from the Company’s properties also appear on a wide range of consumer products for retail. For additional information, please visit www.gnusbrands.com.

Forward-Looking Statements:
Certain statements in this notice constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Words such as "may," "might," "will," "should," "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "continue," "predict," "forecast," "project," "plan," "intend" or similar expressions, or statements regarding intent, belief, or current expectations, are forward-looking statements. While the Company believes these forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on any such forward-looking statements, which are based on information available to us on the date of this release. These forward-looking statements are based upon current estimates and assumptions and are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including without limitation those set forth in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), not limited to Risk Factors relating to its patent business contained therein. Thus, actual results could be materially different. The Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update or alter statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/42296ff6-61b2-406e-a5aa-6e4d0f446914.

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From Kidscreen:

Inside Genius Brands’ big CP blitz

A "barren" 2020 retail landscape and a digestible content format will help the more than 450 SKUs from Rainbow Rangers and Llama Llama stand out in the crowd, says SVP Lloyd Mintz.

Genius Brands International is ready to take over retail. The California-based company will launch more than 450 products inspired by its animated preschool series Rainbow Rangers and Llama Llama starting in Q3 2019.

The timing is right as the second season of both shows will hit screens in Q4, and Genius Brands’ SVP of global consumer products Lloyd Mintz believes the upcoming episodes—as well as new short-form content—will put the consumer products program in a strong position.

For the first time, Genius Brands will launch all-new and repurposed short-form content for both Rainbow Rangers and Llama Llama on YouTube. Starting in August, the company plans to bow around 20 videos for Rainbow Rangers each week and, while the frequency of uploads for Llama Llama has yet to be determined, Mintz expects it will be similar.

“As important as the series are, a lot of kids don’t have the time to watch a full episode or they want to see their favorite characters on the go and that means they’re looking for content on their digital devices. Therefore, we want to make the shows available on YouTube with more snack-sized content,” Mintz says. “That’s been a missing ingredient and we’re going to address that, which we think will really help our licensees in terms of drawing attention to the series.”

Additional digital efforts will revolve around partnerships with social media influencers (both mommy bloggers and kid influencers), and Genius Brands is currently determining what those partnerships will look like.

Rainbow Rangers currently airs on Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. The 52 x 11-minute series follows the rescue-based adventures of seven super-powered girls who protect people, animals and the planet from danger. Llama Llama, meanwhile is available on Netflix and stars a young llama as he deals with the challenges of early childhood.

Rainbow Rangers targets kids three to six, though Mintz says the company has found girls ages four to six are the show’s sweet spot. Llama Llama, meanwhile, is aimed at kids four and under (with a gender-neutral sweet spot of two- to four-year-olds). While both are animated preschool shows, gathering data on the differences in audience helped Genius Brands determine which categories would be best suited to each brand. Publishing, toys and apparel are the key categories for Rainbow Rangers because of their appeal for slightly older kids, he says, while Llama Llama (which was inspired by a publishing property) skews more toward toys and activity-based items that can connect with the storylines of the books and TV series.

The first items inspired by Rainbow Rangers began rolling out this month, including apparel from Bentex (available through Amazon). Next month, bicycles from Dynacraft will launch online through Walmart, Target and Kohl’s (with plans to later expand into brick and mortar), while Halloween costumes from Disguise will be available at Walmart, Party City and Spirit locations in September. Additional consumer products set to launch later this year include stationery (Inkology) and chewable vitamins (Integrity Vitamins).

New Llama Llama items like books (Scholastic), holiday ornaments (Kurt Adler) and holiday plush (Cuddle Barn) will launch later this year. A number of products inspired by the series have already hit retail, including plush toys from Kids Preferred (available at Barnes & Noble, Buy Buy Baby and Wegmans as well as online through Walmart and Amazon), activity books from Bendon Publishing (at Michael’s and Dollar General) and DVDs from NCircle Entertainment (Walmart and Target).

Genius is focusing on its online efforts first, Mintz says, because the retail landscape is incredibly crowded this year due to blockbuster franchise films (especially in the wake of Toys “R” Us closing up shop in the US). The company plans to grow its in-store presence into 2020, with Mintz calling the next year “pretty barren” when it comes to new properties—opening up opportunities for licensees.

The consumer products rollout comes shortly after Genius Brands hired Jeff Shapiro as VP of retail development. Previously director of sales at Warner Bros., Shaprio is now responsible for building new retail partnerships and programs for Genius Brands’ properties.

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More Nick: Nickelodeon Greenlights Season Two of Genius Brands International’s Hit Preschool Series, Rainbow Rangers, to Debut in Q4 With 52 New Episodes!

H/T: TVKIDS.
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