Genius Brands Announces Launch of “Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse” Following Acquisition of Ameba TV

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Commercial-Free, Streaming Subscription Version of Kartoon Channel! Becomes First “Metaverse Just for Kids”

Planned Features Include: Custom Avatars, Branded Kidaverse Goggles, Immersive Content, Games, NFTs of Popular Characters, Digital Kid’s Currency: “Kidaverse MetaBuck$” as well as Breakthrough Child-Safe Messaging (“Messies”) for Families

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Jan. 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Genius Brands International (“Genius Brands”) (NASDAQ: GNUS) today announced its subscription-based KARTOON CHANNEL! KIDAVERSE, launching April 15, 2022, at $3.99/month. Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse will be anchored by technology from the acquisition of Ameba TV, a rapidly growing children’s video streaming service that brings a first-in-class technology platform.

Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse will include all the popular programs of Kartoon Channel! today, while adding exclusive metaversal content, which will be launched in a phased rollout. Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse will feature a fully-integrated design, including custom avatars and emojis for kids, exclusive games, branded Kidaverse VR goggles, immersive content and NFTs for kids (“KFT”s). The new platform will also feature collectable digital cards based on many of the channel’s popular characters, including those from the upcoming Stan Lee Universe, debuting in Q4 2022, and a digital currency for kids called Kidaverse MetaBuck$. Additionally, the Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse is planning to introduce child-safe messaging (“Messies”), podcasts, music, and more.

“Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse is expected to revolutionize children’s entertainment, because it will include all of the popular animated programs of a children’s channel, metaverse features and, most importantly, it will be fully curated and child safe,” said Genius Brand Chairman and CEO, Andy Heyward. “The single strongest message we receive from parents is the concern about safety for children on screens, whether it is program content or roaming around the internet and various apps. The premise of the Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse is to provide children with fun, positive, engaging digital media AND to provide them with a safe and parent-controlled product.”

In addition to the hit shows of Kartoon Channel! today, including Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rainbow RangersPeppa Pig, PJ Masks, Minecraft, Surviving Roblox, My Little Pony, and Yu Gi Oh, Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse will add another 13,000 episodes under license to Ameba, including hit brands, such as Casper The Friendly Ghost, Donkey Kong Country, Gummy Bears, and Rescue Heroes. The platform will also become the home to the several thousand hours of animated content available through its recent acquisition of Canada’s WOW! Unlimited Media and strategic investment in Germany’s Your Family Entertainment (YFE). The Company believes this will make it the largest single children’s portal of animation in the world, with over 20,000 animated titles under license.

Ameba founder, Tony Havelka stated, “Ameba was the earliest independent kids’ streamer! We are thrilled to bring our technology, our content, and our team, to Kartoon Channel! Together, we look forward to launching the next generation platform for kids, embodying not just program content, but metaversal features and kid-safe messaging.”

“As Kartoon Channel! has grown, many of our viewers have asked for a commercial-free version of the experience,” said Jon Ollwerther, Kartoon Channel! President. “While our free, ad-supported platform will still be available to consumers, the subscription-based Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse will address that market need, while also building the 360 degree kid’s digital media platform of the future. We believe it will be a unique entertainment experience that simply cannot be had anywhere else.”

Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse plans to launch its ad-free platform on April 15th, 2022 at $3.99/month and intends to begin its phased rollout of additional features in Q3 2022. The same safe features and kid-friendly content that have made Kartoon Channel! a top-rated kid’s app in both the Apple and Google Play stores will continue in the Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse, but now commercial-free, with more added content, unique digital features and experiences, including child-safe messaging and user-generated content.

Jon Ollwerther, President of Kartoon Channel! will oversee the development of the Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse and its rollout across North America. Former Managing Director of Disney Channels Worldwide and now Managing Director of Kartoon Channel! Worldwide, Paul Robinson, will lead the launch throughout the rest of the world.

Stanford University Professor Emeritus, Don Roberts, former Chair of the Stanford University School of Communications, and noted authority on the impact of media on children’s development, has worked with Genius Brands and Kartoon Channel! to ensure a Kidaverse Safe Content Code. The Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse platform will be first and foremost an environment of safety. “It’s a digital playground whose content and attributes will be fully supervised,” said Professor Roberts. “Absent will be bullying, violence, inappropriate language, or negative stereotypes. The programming ethos, like Kartoon Channel!, is one of enrichment for our audience.”

About Genius Brands International
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’ portfolio includes Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, on Kartoon Channel!; Shaq’s Garage, starring Shaquille O’Neal on Kartoon Channel!; Rainbow Rangers on Kartoon Channel! and Netflix; Llama, starring Jennifer Garner, on Netflix; award-winning toddler brand Baby Genius; adventure comedy STEM series Thomas Edison's Secret Lab; and entrepreneurship series Warren Buffett's Secret Millionaires Club. Through licensing agreements with leading partners, characters from Genius Brands’ IP also appear on a wide range of consumer products for the worldwide retail marketplace. The Company’s Kartoon Channel! and Kartoon Classroom! are available in over 100 million U.S. television households via a broad range of distribution platforms, including Comcast, Cox, DISH, Sling TV, Pluto 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. For additional information, please visit www.gnusbrands.com.

Forward Looking Statements: Certain statements in this press release 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, our ability to generate revenue or achieve profitability; our ability to obtain additional financing on acceptable terms, if at all; the potential issuance of a significant number of shares, which will dilute our equity holders; fluctuations in the results of our operations from period to period; general economic and financial conditions; our ability to anticipate changes in popular culture, media and movies, fashion and technology; competitive pressure from other distributors of content and within the retail market; our reliance on and relationships with third-party production and animation studios; our ability to market and advertise our products; our reliance on third-parties to promote our products; our ability to keep pace with technological advances; our ability to protect our intellectual property and those other risk factors set forth in the “Risk Factors” section of the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and in the Company's subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). 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.

MEDIA CONTACT:
pr@gnusbrands.com

INVESTOR RELATIONS CONTACT:                                    
ir@gnusbrands.com

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