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Exclusive: Genius Brands CEO Sees Profitability 'By The End Of The Year'

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Exclusive: Genius Brands CEO Sees Profitability 'By The End Of The Year'

Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands International Inc (NASDAQ: GNUS), joined Benzinga’s PreMarket Prep on Wednesday to discuss the major developments with the company that has its stock up more than 760% year to date.

Last month, Genius launched its “Kartoon Channel!” which is available for free on the popular streaming platforms of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA).

'Designed For The Times'

“The reason we decided to go free is because it’s kind of a product designed for the times we’re in right now. Because of COVID, there’s a lot of kids home from school. Schools are closed, camps are not occurring this summer, and I think most kids today are not doing linear viewing,” Heyward said.

Today’s kids have grown up in an on-demand world, and Genius wanted its channel to meed that demand. Rather than adopt a subscription model like Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) or Amazon, Genius decided to have an advertising-based video on-demand model, or AVOD.

“The advertising is limited," Heyward said. "It’s not going to be over-commercialized. We have some very specific requirements of all the content we put on the channel. It’s positive content, it’s all uplifting, there’s no negative stereotypes. There’s no inappropriate language or behavior."

Heyward said the Kartoon Channel rollout will continue with a re-launch of an iOS app sometime within the next couple of weeks.

See Also: Big Day For Genius Brands As Schwarzenegger Invests, Kartoon Channel Launches

Volatile Stock

Genius shares have taken off due to excitement surrounding the recent launch, and Heyward said there are likely multiple market dynamics driving the stock’s extreme volatility.

“A lot of people had a basis at 21 cents. There was some profit-taking. There was of course a lot of shorting going on. As a CEO, I can’t explain why stocks go up and down. I have some ideas, but it’s really not what I do. I make cartoons,” he said.

“My business is to create the value in the cartoon, create the value in the channel, create the value from the licensing, and over time the value will define the stock price.”

True Value

Heyward has had the opportunity to work with Wall Street legend and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B) CEO Warren Buffett on projects such as “Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaires Club.”

“He’s given me sound advice, which is keep your eye on the business and the stock will take care of itself,” Heyward said.

He said Genius’ true value lies in its content and its distribution platforms, and he said the company is on a path toward profitability.

“I see it by the end of the year. We have a number of important engines going on right now,” he said.

Listen to Heyward's full interview in the clip below, starting at the 1:03:00 mark:

 

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