Toonz Entertainment, the distribution wing of global kids and family entertainment major Toonz Media Group has announced the appointments of Bernhard Stephan as Director, Commercial Distribution and Maria Romanelli as Senior Sales Manager for Italy. These newly created roles in the sales arm are part of Toonz Entertainment restructuring with the aim to become a leading distribution partner across different geographies.
Mr. Bernhard Stephan started his media career in 2000 with TV Loonland AG as Head of Licensing before moving on to Discovery Networks as Manager EMEA in the Program Sales & Licensing Division (today Warner Media), based in Munich & Moscow. He has also worked as Country Manager Russia & CEE at Red Bull Media House (representing and managing all media of Red Bull Media House & Terra Mater Studios), based in Moscow and took management roles as CCO at YFE AG and Head of Media at Animaccord.
At Toonz Entertainment, he will lead the distribution business in French speaking, German speaking territories in CEE, as well as Russia, CIS, and MENA. “I am excited to be part of this enterprising team at Toonz Entertainment and I am looking forward to take the Toonz and partners’ content to different geographies as the potential is huge,” Mr. Bernhard Stephan commented.
Ms. Maria Romanelli, an industry veteran having over four decades of experience in developing international business and Licensing & Merchandising, has been appointed as the Senior Sales Manager for Italy. Starting her career in mid-80s in the UK at CPLG as Head of International, Maria was instrumental in setting up the Italian division of Consumer Products for Warner Bros and restructuring the UK one. Further on, she joined Saban and was involved over the years with Fox Kids and Jetix. In addition to her Licensing & Merchandising work, she was involved in TV Coproduction, TV and Video Distribution (+6000 of programs).
“Coming with years of experience in developing international business, I am confident to build the business for Toonz in Italy. With quality content for kids and families in Toonz slate, I am sure that exciting years are ahead for Toonz in the distribution slate,” she added.
Mr. Bruno Zarka, President – TV Co-production, Distribution & Syndication Division said that the appointment of these two veterans, who will be based out of Russia and Italy, is a strategic move by Toonz and will add more muscle to Toonz Entertainment division. “We are adding 258 hours of additional content to our distribution catalogue this year and together with our partners we are optimistic about acquiring new business, as there is always demand for quality kids and family entertainment content,” he explained.
In 2022, Toonz Entertainment clocked 962 hours of content sales in LATAM and 470 hours of content sales in APAC with popular shows such as Pinocchio and Friends, Zoonicorn, Rat-a-tat, Briko, and Darwin and Newts among the popular shows to leading broadcasters in APAC, LATAM, USA, and Europe.