Genius Brands International Jan. 13 announced it would bow the subscription-based Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse on April 15, priced at $3.99 per month. The platform will be anchored by backend technology from the acquisition of Ameba TV.
The SVOD will include all the programs of the Kartoon Channel!, while adding exclusive content in a phased rollout. The platform will feature a fully integrated design, including custom avatars and emojis for kids, exclusive games, branded VR goggles, immersive content and NFTs for kids.
The new platform will also feature collectable digital cards based on the channel’s characters, including those from the upcoming Stan Lee Universe, debuting in the fourth quarter, and a digital currency for kids called Kidaverse MetaBuck$. Additionally, the Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse is planning to introduce child-safe messaging, podcasts, music and games.
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Andy Heyward, CEO of Genius Brand, said the SVOD is in response to a consumer need for safe over-the-top video destinations for children.
“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,” Heyward said. “The premise of the [platform] is to provide children with fun, positive, engaging digital media, and to provide them with a safe and parent-controlled product.”
In addition to Kartoon Channel! programming, the SVOD will include “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Rainbow Rangers,” “Peppa Pig,” “PJ Masks,” “Minecraft,” “Surviving Roblox,” “My Little Pony” and “Yu Gi Oh.”
Kidaverse will add another 13,000 episodes under license to Ameba, including “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 Genius Brands’ 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.
“As Kartoon Channel! has grown, many of our viewers have asked for a commercial-free version of the experience,” said Jon Ollwerther, president of the Kartoon Channel! “While our free, ad-supported platform will still be available to consumers, the SVOD 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.”
Ollwerther will oversee the development of the SVOD 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.