Japanese producer and distribution company Toho, which has redoubled its efforts in the animation space over the past year, has completed a multi-million investment to acquire a 50% stake in three of Frederator’s original productions: Bee & Puppycat, Bravest Warriors, and the upcoming spinoff of the latter, Catbug.
Here’s what we know about the deal:
- The deal provides a framework for Frederator Network, which became a subsidiary of Genius Brand in 2021, and Toho International to co-produce new content for the properties and to cooperatively develop new consumer products. Genius Brands will oversee distribution of the products globally, excluding Asia, which will be handled by Toho.
- Michael Hirsh, CEO of Genius Brands’ WOW! Unlimited, which is the parent company of Frederator, said in a statement: “At Frederator, our mission is to foster the creativity of content creators and give them a platform to get their projects seen. We are thrilled that our productions, Bravest Warriors, Bee and Puppycat, and Catbug, are now attracting a global audience. Our partnership with Toho will allow us to further expand the reach of these two series, both in terms of distribution and upcoming consumer products.”
- Hiro Matsuoka, president of Toho Co., Ltd, added: “This new deal aligns with our long-term strategy, as we build a more effective system for distribution and licensing of our own IP. … With our production resources and distribution capabilities across Asia, complementing Genius Brands and Frederators’ expansive network in key markets around the world, we anticipate these two properties will continue to develop a global fan base as we introduce new content and merchandise.”
- Bee and Puppycat, created by Natasha Allegri, started as a series of online shorts, before launching as a Netflix series last fall. Bravest Warriors is an online series created by Pen Ward (Adventure Time) and is headed by showrunner Breehn Burns. Catbug, created by Burns, is an online property that has achieved virality on social platforms. Genius Brands claims that Catbug has achieved over 200 million views to date on social platforms, as well as 200 million GIFs shared on Giphy.
Pictured at top, l-to-r: Bee and Puppycat, Bravest Warriors