TOHO Invests in Frederator Brands


TOHO International is making a multimillion-dollar investment to acquire a 50 percent stake in select content and consumer products from Genius Brands’ Frederator Network.

The partnership includes Bravest Warriors, Bee and PuppyCat and the upcoming series Catbug. The deal provides a framework for Genius Brands’ Frederator Network and TOHO International to co-produce new content for the properties and cooperatively develop a global consumer products campaign.

Genius Brands will oversee global distribution and consumer products development for the properties, excluding Asia, which will be handled by TOHO International.

Additionally, a dedicated online store for Bee and PuppyCat launched in September 2022 to coincide with the show’s release on Netflix.

Michael Hirsh, CEO of WOW! Unlimited Media, parent company of Frederator Network, stated: “Demand for quality animated content is greater than ever, and yet we recognize the importance of delivering productions that can stand out and provide enduring value. As illustration, I’m proud to report that the LA Times recently voted Bee and PuppyCat as one of the ‘20 shows our TV experts are most excited to watch this fall.’ In fact, the sneak peek trailer of Bee and PuppyCat achieved over 2 million views within 24 hours and has successfully launched on Netflix. 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, commented: “This new deal aligns with our long-term strategy, as we build a more effective system for distribution and licensing of our own IP. We have seen the tremendous global popularity of Bravest Warriors and the growth of Bee and PuppyCat, as well as the growing popularity of Catbug along with the overall Western anime genre. With our production resources and distribution capabilities across Asia, complementing Genius Brands and Frederator’s 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.”

Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands, commented: “This transaction is a huge privilege for us at Genius Brands to now partner with the preeminent media company in Japan and their visionary management. We believe it is a further validation of our strategic acquisition of WOW! Unlimited Media and their impressive portfolio of original content, which we can then migrate to the streamers, our own Kartoon Channel! and media platforms around the world.”