The acquisition adds PR capabilities to the Genius Brands stable with instant footing in the toy industry and kids entertainment space along with an in-house media research, planning, and buying division.
“The completion of this transformative acquisition is a huge milestone in the growth of Genius Brands, and we have already begun to realize immediate synergies,” says Genius Brands’ Chairman and CEO Andy Heyward. “In particular, ChizComm represents more than 30 major toy companies and some of the most powerful and iconic brands in the children’s and family media and toy industries, including among them Bandai America, Funko, and The Topps Co. We look forward to leveraging their expertise in media planning and buying, as well as their deep industry relationships, as we accelerate our rollout strategy for Kartoon Channel!”
“We are honored to join the Genius Brands family under the leadership of Andy Heyward, a true industry pioneer and visionary,” says Harold Chizick, CEO and co-founder, ChizComm. “Through the combination of our two organizations, we believe we can unlock the full potential of ChizComm and drive immediate value supporting the growth of Genius Brands’ amazing content portfolio, distribution platform, and retail business.”
The synergies between Genius Brands and ChizComm are already surfacing, notably in last week’s preview of the upcoming animate series, Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten. The series, voice-directed by John Landis and co-executive produced by and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger will officially debut on Genius Brands’ Kartoon Channel! app this spring.
ChizComm Beacon Media is the largest purchaser of kid’s media across traditional and digital platforms in North America, placing more than $100 million in annual media spend. Heyward notes that commissions on those media buys will directly add to Genius Brands’ bottom line.
“Simply put, they buy more commercials on television, digital, and online than any other company in this space,” Heyward says.
Under the new deal, ChizComm and ChizComm Beacon Media operate as independent subsidiaries of Genius Brands. Harold Chizick remainds CEO of ChizComm Ltd. and ChizComm Beacon Media, with Jennifer Chizick serving as chief operating officer, and Donna MacNeil as president. Kathleen Campisano remains global chief marketing officer of ChizComm and general manager of ChizComm Beacon Media.
Earlier this week, Genius Brands’ publicly traded stock (GNUS) joined a group of recently buzzed-about stocks in the news as it joined GameStop (GME), AMC Theaters (AMC), and Blackberry (BB) on a list of securities restricted by the popular trading app, Robinhood following recent spikes in trading activity.