Genius Brands’ Stone Newman talks SpacePOP, Rainbow Rangers and Licensing Expo.
Firstly, how has your business been performing in general over the past 12 months?
Stone Newman, president global consumer products, worldwide content sales and marketing: It is hard to believe that we are approaching nearly a year since last licensing show. Our business is extremely strong and over the past year, we have experienced tremendous growth in new brand development, content premieres and retail launches both in the US and internationally.
What have been your highlights?
Last June, coinciding with Licensing Expo, we launched a new children’s brand, SpacePOP, on YouTube with a short-form, music-driven animated series, followed by the debut of over 100 new products across all major categories at mass, mid and specialty retailers nationwide, including Toys R Us, Kohl’s and Claire’s.
We then expanded the reach of the series via digital platforms, including Toon Goggles, PopJam, BatteryPOP and the Kid Genius Cartoon Channel on Comcast, as well as on OTT platforms, such as Amazon, Apple, Roku and Google, bringing the combined audience reach to nearly 50 million US households. We partnered with major promotional partners, including Six Flags, Dippin’ Dots, Chuck E. Cheese, Girl’s World and Storybird, securing nearly 75 million impressions, as well as initiated a robust influencer campaign.
In 2017, we will expand the SpacePOP programme into new categories, retailers and territories worldwide, including Southern Europe and Asia.
We also began development last year on a new preschool series, Rainbow Rangers, with a production dream team on board and have recently secured Mattel as the global master toy partner and Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. as the US broadcaster. We are just getting started with Rainbow Rangers and anticipate a plethora of licensing announcement in the coming weeks.
And lastly, we are currently in production (15 x 30’) on a new preschool series, Llama Llama, starring the voice talent of Jennifer Garner, which will premiere as a Netflix Original in 2017 with a full consumer products campaign to follow.
What will be your main focuses at Licensing Expo this year?
Our core focus at Licensing Expo this year will be to further build the consumer products programmes for our kid’s brands: Rainbow Rangers, Llama Llama, SpacePOP, Baby Genius and Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab.
How important is Licensing Expo is your overall business? What benefits do you get from exhibiting there?
The Licensing Expo is hugely important to us for not only making deals and networking, but also coming coming together as an industry leads to interesting outcomes.
How strong is the US licensing industry in general at the moment, do you think?
From our standpoint, the US licensing market is still very vital and strong. As I alluded to already, Genius Brands’ business has been heading in the right direction over the past couple of years. Following the whirlwind at market with brands such as Frozen and Shopkins, it might be a challenge to comp the past -5 years but the industry continues to feel healthy.
Do you see any trends emerging?
Kaflooey… lots of people are talking about the highly anticipated launch of Kaflooey. That’s all that I can say about it at the moment, but use your imagination…
What’s the one thing that you are looking forward to most about Licensing Expo this year?
Getting to see the Thursday night performance of ‘Jay Asher and The Brandgenuity All-Star Band’ at the Hooters Hotel (invite only, of course).
What would you most like to achieve at the show the year?
Our goal is to round out the licensing programmes for our current slate of brands, while sourcing out licensees who we have never partnered with before that can perhaps present fresh and innovative ideas.
Genius Brands International will be on booth B134 at this year’s Licensing Expo.