Steve Macalbry of Best Growth Stocks Interviews Paul Ward of Grom Social Enterprises

GROM Social Enterprises Interview (NASDAQ: GROM) 10/11/2023

Grom Social’s Paul Ward

Paul Ward
President, Grom Social and EVP, Grom Social Enterprises, Inc.

He rose in the ranks at Nickelodeon to become EVP, Primetime, Strategy and Acquisitions, where he led the parent-targeted business for cable’s Number One network.

One of the original architects of TV Land, which remains the highest-rated cable network in the Paramount (formerly ViacomCBS) family.

He led the charge on crafting the MTV Networks Upfront presentations and helped the company achieve its $2B+ ad revenue agendas.

He was enlisted by BritBox to help grow the subscription service among Anglophiles and expats living in the United States.

Verizon Media tapped Ward to executive produce its NewFront presentation on behalf of Huffington Post, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports.

Away from the office, he spearheads Seton Hall University’s CHAMP mentor program, which pairs current students with successful alumni to prepare students for professional success.


Interviewed by Steve Macalbry

Senior Editor, BestGrowthStocks.Com

Begin Interview…

Top Draw Animation’s Influence:

Given the recognition of Filipino animation in the global industry, how does Grom intend to maintain its leading edge as the industry continues to evolve?

Paul: Thanks, Steve. As shown on CNN recently, the world is really beginning to recognize, and tap into, the growing creative Filipino community that’s fueling industries all around the world. Animation production is the perfect export from the Philippines and Grom Social Enterprises’ Top Draw Animation is helping to lead the way in producing premium animated shows and movies seen all over the globe. We also understand that it’s important that educational institutions there offer next-gen animation curriculum to remain competitive with opportunities found elsewhere, which is why we partner closely with higher education there to align industry opportunities with local emerging talent. A Filipina who heads to Los Angeles for college is likely to land an internship there and remain there for her career. At Grom and Top Draw, we think it’s important to create animation career opportunities for Filipinos that don’t require them to leave home.

Could you provide the current client list for Top Draw and the estimated projected annual revenue per client?

For competitive reasons, Top Draw does not share a list of current clients publicly, unless they specify or agree to that in advance. Historically, our clients have included global programmers including Netflix, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and other blue chip program suppliers that rely on Top Draw for best-in-class 2D animation. Production:

How significant is the “” animated movie in Grom’s long-term content strategy?

The movie, already in production, is one of the centerpieces of our content strategy, all of which aims to fulfill the entertainment needs of today’s kids and their families. We are energized and excited about bringing this movie to the big screen in time for the 2025 holidays. Having content that is both commercially viable and critically successful can be a real game changer as success on the big screen has the potential to lead to lucrative ancillary revenue and help fast track attention to other premium IP we have in our deep and growing content catalog.

Considering the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film nominations, how are you positioning “” in global markets, especially in terms of distribution?

The Stuttgart nominations reflect not just the quality of the script, but also the commercial viability of an animated property, which makes it a great marketing tool when seeking global distribution for the film. Our partner, Toon2Tango, is based in Germany and is a prolific and esteemed global animation producer and distributor. They are our partner of choice and quickly recognized how could be made into a hit film as well as new and enduring holiday tradition. Having that type of deep partnership can often elevate a project creatively and accelerate its distribution.

In many ways, Christmastime and entertainment go together. In what ways are you leveraging the web property in terms of revenue?

Our holiday website is something all of us at Grom Social Enterprises are incredibly proud of and we are excited to welcome the holidays again with open arms. As we continue to champion and cultivate other revenue opportunities, including advertising and sponsorships and revenue from products we offer. We continue to explore how house brands can help us to increase profit margins. As we continue to evolve, our unique selling proposition is how we skillfully marry useful holiday editorial with ecommerce, something that helps set the brand apart from the competition.

With the potential success of the “” film, how do you plan on leveraging its intellectual property for your digital platforms?

We are really looking forward to helping make the film a commercial success. A hit film and its attendant IP can unlock several opportunities across the Grom portfolio. Characters from the film organically lend themselves to Grom Social’s kid audience, especially during the holidays. Consumer products based on movie IP can lead to exclusive offerings on our website and help set our ecommerce apart even more. From publishing to consumer products, to licensing, we see the enormous potential a successful film can unlock.

How will Grom’s online platforms benefit from or tie into the film’s narrative, and are there plans for cross-promotional campaigns?

You’ll be hearing more about synergy, tie-ins and cross-promotional opportunities across Grom as we inch closer to’s Fall 2025 movie premiere. It’s a safe bet that the family-centric positioning of the film can create meaningful and enduring opportunities and cross-platform promotions for all of Grom.

Future Growth and Collaborations:

Can you provide insights into how partnerships, like the one with Toon2Tango, are part of Grom’s broader strategy in content co-production?

Great, credible and successful partners like Toon2Tango make a lot of sense for Grom, as combining our efforts with a strong production partner can streamline our efforts and accelerate results. Our collaboration with Toon2Tango, our partner on both the film and our emerging pre-school series coming in 2025 – Hey, Fuzzy Yellow! – has given us a great template for the ideal partner whose collaborative approach is beneficial to us all.

Company Direction:

With Grom’s dedication to family-friendly programming, are there any new segments or markets you’re aiming to explore in the coming months/years?

First and foremost, our aim is to fill the social media void faced by the under-13 crowd, which represents a robust market segment and one that ad partners are constantly seeking new avenues to reach. Following a successful rollout of the new Grom Social app, we can further explore the connection we have with parents who trust the Grom brand and, therefore, more wholistically serve their entertainment and other consumer needs.

Merchandising and Licensing:

Could you give us a current list of all your merchandising deals and when they may start to contribute to top-line revenues?

For competitive reasons, we do not share lists of our deals publicly. Since our licensing deals involve different partners, categories and products, it’s probably best not to specify a time frame as to when they begin to contribute, however, I can report we are seeing great movement in this category. We recently announced a new program with Cepia LLC’s Cats vs Pickles, in which Well Played Toys is set to introduce a diverse and innovative range of Cats vs Pickles products for consumers and this Spring, we unveiled a partnership with WEP to license a range of products from the classic animated series, Denver the Last Dinosaur.

With the potential success of the “” film, are there plans in place for merchandising or licensing opportunities to further monetize the brand?

Critical to the box office success of any new release, it’s especially important for an animated holiday family film to have a “surround sound strategy” that considers merchandising, licensing and consumer products to heighten consumer awareness and generate foot traffic into theaters. While we are not at liberty to disclose any of those details this early, it’s safe to assume that we are exploring every opportunity to encourage movie-goers to see

Holistic Approach:

How does Grom ensure a safe and entertaining environment for children across its platforms, and are there any new technological advancements you’re exploring to improve user experience and safety?

The recipe for keeping kids safe on Grom Social is a combination of hard work, tech know-how and common sense. We utilize a team of live monitors along with algorithms that intercept, review and approve or reject content that is harmful or inappropriate for kids. We strictly adhere to COPPA – the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act – which was created to protect kids and their data, and we are likely already well within compliance for the new guidelines expected in the upcoming, more stringent COPPA 2.0. Additionally, we tap into KidSafe to ensure we remain in compliance and have the tools we need to ensure kid safety. Other content from other divisions of Grom rely on a commonsense approach that dictates that we can entertain kids without the use of inappropriate storytelling.

Thank you for your time,

Steve Macalbry

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