A Squared Entertainment Merges with Genius Brands International

GBIGenius Brands International Inc. and A Squared Entertainment LLC will merge to form an intellectual property (IP) and multimedia content creation and distribution company focused on branded content with a purpose for kids. The assets and experience of both companies will be consolidated under the Genius Brands International banner.

Andy Heyward, formerly CEO of DIC Entertainment and co-president of A Squared Entertainment, will assume the role of Chairman and CEO of Genius Brands International. Amy Moynihan Heyward, formerly co-president of A Squared Entertainment, will serve as president. Klaus Moeller, currently CEO of Genius, will become vice president of special markets, and will continue with the company as a member of its board of directors.

The company will utilize its combined strengths to build upon its unique “content with a purpose” positioning. In addition to producing original content with subject matter experts, the company will develop interactive digital entertainment in all formats including broadcast, online, mobile, tablets, and more. A comprehensive consumer products program will be created to extend the learning into other areas outside of digital media.

Andy Heyward is a multi-Emmy Award-winning producer of children’s entertainment. He has produced more than 5,000 episodes of award-winning children’s programs, including Inspector Gadget, Alvin and the Chipmunks, G.I. Joe, Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theatre, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Amy Moynihan Heyward is a brand-marketing executive who has spent more than 20 years managing, creating, and launching brands with a focus on kids.

Chipmunks Franchise Increases Merchandising Program

Leading up to the holiday release of Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked!, Fox Consumer Products and Bagdasarian Productions have enlisted a wide range of partners to fuel an increased merchandising program for the Chipmunks franchise. The new program aims to widen its consumer base to reach young girls with products based around The Chipettes, the fashionable female rock stars of the group.

Just Play, LLC will create basic feature and novelty plush items, with Vivid Imaginations as the UK distributor. Santa’s Best will produce a holiday merchandise line, and Gipsy will introduce a specialty plush line in France.

Majesco will once again spearhead the development of the video game based on the upcoming film. Ty will continue to produce a specialty toy line, and Build-A-Bear will re-offer its top-selling line of stuffable plush featuring Alvin and Brittany, as well as pre-stuffed plush of other main characters.

HarperCollins will rejoin the program with a wide variety of published products, including beginning readers, novelizations, sticker books, and storybooks. Bendon Publishing will publish a line of activity, board, and coloring books along with flashcards and workbooks. Editora Alstro Astral will introduce a book program in Brazil.

There will also be increased merchandising in food, apparel, and accessories products.

Fox Expands Breadth of Family Film Franchises

Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products has announced plans to create worldwide, long-term brands out of Ice Age, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Rio.

Ice Age Continental Drift 3-D is scheduled to hit theaters summer 2012, and Fox is planning consumer products based on the brand, including video games, stationery, and toys. Fox plans to release a style guide and new promotional concepts in the coming months.

Alvin and the Chipmunks Chipwrecked will also be in 3-D and is expected to release during 2011′s holiday season. Fox hopes to market the franchise as a year-round opportunity focusing on toys, stationery, interactive, and publishing. [Read more...]