WildBrain president Josh Scherba (pictured) is adding CEO to his title in the wake of Eric Ellenbogen‘s departure.
Scherba, who has been at WildBrain since its inception in 2006, has built the company’s relationships with major kidcos and buyers such as Apple TV+ (home to WildBrain’s Peanuts content), Netflix and The LEGO Group. He was named president in 2018, and led the company’s recent acquisition of Toronto-based pre-production animation studio House of Cool.
Ellenbogen joined WildBrain in 2019 as CEO and vice chair after a 30-year career in the entertainment business that included a stint as president and CEO of Marvel Enterprises (before Disney acquired it). He also co-founded Classic Media in 2000, which DreamWorks Animation acquired in 2012. Ellenbogen later served as co-head of DreamWorks Classics and DreamWorks International Television, ushering the company into the TV business.
During the company’s Q3 earnings call this morning, Scherba credited Ellenbogen with transforming WildBrain, noting that he helped to expand content for brands such as Peanuts, Teletubbies and Strawberry Shortcake; built up WildBrain Spark’s digital production and distribution business; and led a 360-degree strategy to expand brands across content and consumer products.
The company’s next phase of growth is all about improving brand monetization, said Scherba. To help support these efforts, chief marketing and brand officer Jim Fielding has been promoted to advise the CEO and board of directors on strategy.
In the Q3 report that WildBrain released yesterday, the company posted earnings of US$105.3 million, compared to US$96.9 million in the same period last year.
Live-action content drove a revenue increase in the production and distribution segment to US$53.5 million—a 24% jump over last year.
Consumer products revenue remained flat at US$38 million, attributed to overstocked retailers reducing their buying activity. CFO Aaron Ames expects the inventory issues to continue over the next few quarters, but said in the earnings call that he’s bullish about consumer products growth in 2024.
Meanwhile, digital revenue generated by WildBrain Spark decreased by 15% to US$6.8 million this quarter, due to lower advertising volume. However, Spark racked up more than 46 billion minutes of watch-time in Q3, demonstrating its ability to promote brands and drive CP sales, said Ames.
Moving forward, Scherba said the company is focused on meeting streamers’ demand for content that appeals to the whole family. He cited Sonic Prime—a co-production with SEGA for Netflix—as a good example of this, adding that WildBrain is aiming to make more co-viewing shows along these lines for SVOD platforms.