Hans Ulrich Stoef, CEO de Studio 100 Media y m4e.
Last December, Germany's independent media company Leonine Holding founded Leonine Animation Studios with Hans Ulrich Stoef and Jo Daris, and all parties will pool their animation activities in this division in the future. The three partners will each contribute their shares in Toon2Tango. Señal News spoke with Hans Ulrich Stoef, CEO and producer at Toon2Tango, to describe this new venture in the kids' arena.
What does it mean for Toon2Tango to form an alliance with Leonine and create Leonine Animation Studios?
"It's a perfect fit for us. We needed a partner to help us fulfill our potential in the children's and family entertainment market. Leonine Studios was the ideal match in terms of synergies and strategic possibilities. Leonine Studios took a minority stake in Toon2Tango in 2022. After building a strong and trusting relationship over the last year, we have now decided to take our partnership to the next level and launch Leonine Animation Studios. Leonine's vision and potential for growth enable us to be fast in decision-making, follow our strategy aggressively, and achieve our goals for ourselves."
Why was Leonine Studios the perfect match for the expansion of Toon2Tango?
"We wanted to build Toon2Tango into a leading European animation company. That meant we needed a growth strategy. Leonine Studios, in turn, was looking to expand into production, financing, and 360° distribution in animation on an international level. Our knowledge of the international animation industry and kids' business was exactly what Leonine Studios was looking for. For us, joining forces with the leading German independent in production, distribution, and licensing gave us a strong partner to manage our growth story."
How would you define the business and growth opportunity behind creating this new enterprise?
"Our combined strengths put Leonine Animation Studios into a unique market position and allow us to become the go-to-partner in animation and kids' content in Europe and allow us to develop business by acquiring IPs and focusing on M&As."
What will be the production and distribution focus of Leonine Animation Studios?
"We will continue to focus on kids and family entertainment. We have numerous projects in development and production already. That includes a new animated feature film called 'Santa.com,' a CG show for 4–7-year-olds called 'Littlest Robot,' 'Showtime,' about kids setting up their theatre/musical show, and 'Lilly of Fawonia,' which is a 26 x 22' 3D and live-action concept, an approach that was very successful for us with 'Mia and Me' some years ago. There are also plans for a TV series spin-off of the well-known cinema franchise 'Niko.' In addition, we have a lot of productions and co-productions already on screens worldwide, like 'Monster Loving Maniacs' and 'Agent 203.' Our combined strength in distribution will massively benefit all these existing and planned shows."
What are the main challenges and opportunities in the kids and family entertainment business?
"The kids' business in 2023 saw lower budgets and a lot of caution. That will continue. There will also be a lot of consolidation. Strong partnerships will be the game's name, and founding Leonine Animation Studios puts us in a good position to stand out in the market."
By Diego Alfagemez