By Bridgette Webb
Kids' programmer Genius Brands just secured $4.5 million in new funding, but the CEO is already fixing his gaze on Disney.
"Disney is the giant gorilla in that space," CEO Andy Heyward said Wednesday in an interview on Cheddar.
Heyward said the new funding, announced Wednesday and led by Robert Wolf, former CEO of UBS Americas and founder of 32 Ventures, will be used to push the company's new animated series, "Rainbow Rangers," which will debut November 5 on Nick Jr.
"We have tried to create a niche, which is what we call content with a purpose," he said. "Every program that we bring forth has to have some enrichment to it and some value other than just the entertainment alone."
Genius already has 20 licensing partners lined up for "Rainbow Rangers" and 300 merchandise products in the making, including toys, dolls, school supplies, and clothing.
The funding news arrives as competition in the kids entertainment space accelerates. The media industry has been hit with a wave of M&A activity this year, with AT&T snapping up Time Warner and Disney purchasing the assets of 21st Century Fox.
Heyward believes the ripple effect of those acquisitions will reshape the whole industry, but he isn't rushing to join the fray ー at least not immediately.
"We're not in the position where we are going to sell the company today ー at some point, we may," he said.
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