Toonz Entertainment makes sales push in Germany & Italy, hires Discovery & Warner Bros alums

Toonz Entertainment makes sales push in Germany & Italy, hires Discovery & Warner Bros alums

Toonz Entertainment, the distribution arm of global kids and family entertainment firm Toonz Media Group, has created new sales roles based in Germany and Italy in a “strategic move” to “add more muscle” to the division as it seeks to push into “different geographies.”

Based in Munich, former Discovery & Red Bull exec Bernhard Stephan has been named as director of commercial distribution, while Italy-based Warner Bros. and Fox Kids alum Maria Romanelli has been appointed as senior sales manager for Italy.

Toonz Entertainment said that the new roles were created as part of restructuring “with the aim to become a leading distribution partner across different geographies.”

Stephan will lead the distribution business in French-speaking, and German-speaking territories in CEE, as well as Russia, CIS, and MENA. The move to distribute into Russia comes as numerous media firms worldwide halted and cut business ties with the country following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. A Toonz spokesman told TBI that the company “works with all territories.”

Stephan started his media career in 2000 with TV Loonland AG as head of licensing before moving on to Discovery Networks as EMEA manager in the program sales & licensing division, based in Moscow. He has also worked as country manager of Russia & CEE at Red Bull Media House and took management roles as CCO at YFE AG and head of media at Animaccord.

Italy-based Romanelli, meanwhile, started her career in the mid-80s in the UK at CPLG as head of international, before helping to set up the Italian division of consumer products for Warner Bros and restructuring the UK one. She also held roles at Saban, Fox Kids and Jetix.

Toonz Entertainment clocked 962 hours of content sales in Lat Am and 470 hours of content sales in APAC last year, with shows such as Pinocchio And Friends, Zoonicorn, Rat-a-tat, Briko, and Darwin And Newts leading sales.

“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,” said Bruno Zarka, president of TV co-production, distribution & syndication.

Update: An earlier version of this article said that Bernhard Stephan would be based in Russia, based upon information received by Toonz Entertainment, but after TBI reached out for clarification, a spokesman for the company confirmed that the executive will actually be based in Munich, Germany.


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