FRED SEIBERT Founder/CEO Frederator Networks & Thirty Labs
The short version:
He was the first creative director of MTV and the last president of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. Fred was the founder of Next New Networks (acquired by YouTube). He’s on the board of directors of Sawhorse Media, and was the first investor in Tumblr.
Frederator Networks is Channel Frederator, the leading online cartoon network, Frederator Studios, an independent production company with hits on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, Cartoon Hangover, the home of Bravest Warriors and Bee & PuppyCat (the most funded web series Kickstarter in history), and Frederator Books. Frederator distributes hundreds of independently owned, animator operated, YouTube channels. Thirty Labs is a technology start-up studio, focused exclusively on video innovations.
The long version:
Fred Seibert makes original cartoons and television networks.
In 1998, Fred Seibert formed Frederator Studios, an independent television production company, and in 2011 founded Frederator Networks to create large scale internet video networks. He Seibert co-founded Thirty Labs, a technology studio exclusively devoted to video innovations. Seibert is the executive producer of several animated series, including Adventure Time on Cartoon Network, Bee & PuppyCat on Cartoon Hangover, The Fairly Oddparents on Nickelodeon, and is developing animated feature films at Sony Pictures Animation.
After a successful stint in radio and an award winning career as a record producer, Seibert segued into television as a director of promotions for The Movie Channel in 1980. In 1981 he was asked to help launch a new 24 hour music channel, MTV: Music Television. He took on the challenge and sought new ways to bond the network with viewers’ imaginations. The result was the now famous mutating logo which is one of the most-recognized trademarks worldwide.
Seibert’s decision to animate MTV’s logo primarily in traditional cel animation was a conscious decision to avoid look-alike solutions and faddish designs. “I wanted us to be classic, not contemporary,” he remarked years later. The results were Clio Awards for MTV and a special award from ASIFA, the international animation society, and recognition as one of eight “leaders of the new media” by Adweek magazine.
In 1983 Seibert and his producing partner Alan Goodman left MTV to form Fred/Alan Inc., the first consulting and advertising agency to introduce the concept of branding to the television industry producing for CBS, HBO, Showtime, TBS, A&E, Lifetime, WNET-TV, the Movie Channel, and MTV Networks.
In 1985, Fred/Alan’s relationship with MTV Networks allowed them to preside over the remake of Nickelodeon, bringing the network from worst to first in the ratings within six months, through innovative on-air promotions, a new logo and new animation. Later that year, Seibert and Goodman created and launched the immediately successful Nick-at-Nite for the company.
Fred/Alan specialized in youth and media services and products, for all of the MTV networks-MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Nick-at Nite, and Comedy Central. A separate company, Chauncey Street, was formed with Albie Hecht to produce television shows, series and specials, and together they created and produced the long running (21 years) Kids’ Choice Awards for Nickelodeon. The partners received three CableACE awards.
In 1992, Seibert was named president of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. His mandate was to revitalize a studio famous for the creation of such legendary characters as The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Jonny Quest, Scooby-Doo, and the Jetsons, but which hadn’t created an original cartoon in decades.
Hanna-Barbera, under Seibert’s direction, launched the “Shorts” initiative in 1994. Animated shorts was the dominant format prior to the advent of television with the great classic characters from Mickey Mouse to Tom & Jerry making their introduction in this format. Acknowledged as the most creative period in the history of animation, Seibert sought to recreate the era with a mandate to find new talent and create new original cartoons. Literally hundreds of would-be directors pitched their cartoon ideas and the studio finally settled on 48 cartoons and signed over thirty directors.
What A Cartoon!/World Premiere Toons debuted in the fall of 1995 on Cartoon Network with record breaking ratings in prime time. In 1996 the series garnered Hanna-Barbera’s first ever Academy Award nomination (for Courage, the Cowardly Dog) and two prime time Emmy nominations. By 1997, the program could lay claim to having spawned four series based on original cartoons, including the hits The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, and Johnny Bravo. Today Frederator Studios is continuing its cartoon innovations at Nickelodeon with Oh Yeah! Cartoons!, Random! Cartoons, and Too Cool! Cartoons, cartoon laboratories that have introduced six television series and three feature films.
Frederator Studios stepped ahead once again in 2005, creating the first cartoon network especially for portable digital devices. Channel Frederator quickly became the online animation network leader, as the founding network of the leading new media television company Next New Networks, and is now the largest online animation network in the world.
Seibert founded Next New Networks in March 2007 with co-founders Emil Rensing, Herb Scannell, Timothy Shey, and Jed Simmons. Based in New York City, the company quickly became the premiere programmer in the internet video world, and was acquired by YouTube Google in March 2011.
Tumblr was founded in 2007 by a former Frederator intern, David Karp. Seibert was one of the early investors and served as the independent member of the board of directors until the company was acquired by Yahoo! in 2013.
In November 2012, Frederator Networks, Seibert’s media division, launched Cartoon Hangover, a YouTube distributed channel with original animated series and shorts. Cartoon Hangover’s Bravest Warriors series quickly became the most watched scripted series in the YouTube’s funded channels project, and Bee & PuppyCat quickly gained enough fans to have the record breaking animation and web series Kickstarter; the series debuted in November 2014. As a continuation of his involvement in the world of video and technology, Seibert co-founded Thirty Labs (with partners Betaworks, Advancit Capital, Jon Miller, and Yoel Flohr), a technology studio exclusively devoted to video innovations.