Frederator Studios is an American animation television production studio which is a division of Frederator Networks, Inc. and founded by Fred Seibert in 1997 with its first series launching in 1998. The studio focuses primarily on artists who write their own shorts, series, and movies. Their slogan is "Original Cartoons since 1998." The studio has locations in New York City, where Frederator Digital is based, and Burbank, California.
Before Frederator, in 1983, Fred Seibert founded Fred/Alan, Inc. in New York City with his college friend Alan Goodman; in 1988, Fred/Alan partnered with Albie Hecht in Chauncey Street Productions to produce television programs for Nickelodeon, MTV, A&E, and CBS.
Seibert became the president of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons in 1992, and created What a Cartoon!, a showcase consisting of 48 shorts that aired on Cartoon Network. In 1996, when Time Warner merged with Turner Broadcasting (owner of Hanna-Barbera), he left the studio.
Frederator Incorporated was formed in January 1997 (its first cartoons were released in 1998), and was housed at a temporary location of the Nickelodeon Animation Studio, in North Hollywood, California. Frederator's debut production was the cartoon short incubator, a television series called Oh Yeah! Cartoons, which later spun off three series: The Fairly OddParents, ChalkZone, and My Life as a Teenage Robot, in addition to 51 original short cartoons by a group of creators including the first films by creators like Butch Hartman, Rob Renzetti, Tim Biskup, Larry Huber, Pat Ventura, Seth MacFarlane, and Carlos Ramos. Oh Yeah! Cartoons was based on Seibert's What a Cartoon! series of shorts from Hanna-Barbera Cartoons and Cartoon Network, which brought Hanna-Barbera its first hit series in 10 years, Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, I Am Weasel, The Powerpuff Girls, and Courage the Cowardly Dog. Frederator has produced a total of 16 television series, and over 200 miniseries, including webisodes. As of 2013, the company was in a producing partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment, and YouTube.
In 2002, Frederator created a joint venture for preschoolers named Bolder Media with producer Susan Miller's Mixed Media Group, Inc. and produced their first preschool series created by Bob Boyle for Nick Jr., Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!.
Frederator Studios created a television series and competition The Nicktoons Film Festival (now known as the Nicktoons Network Animation Festival) for the Nicktoons Network, which debuted October 24, 2004.
In 2004, David Karp interned at Frederator Studios at its first Manhattan location, and built their first blogging platform. In 2007, he launched Tumblr from a rented desk at Frederator Studios' Park Avenue South offices, with chief engineer Marco Arment. Seibert was one of Tumblr's first bloggers.
On November 1, 2005, Frederator launched what it called "the first cartoon podcast." Named Channel Frederator by David Karp (who also structured and edited the initial episodes), this weekly animation network features submitted films from around the world, and quickly became one of the top video podcasts on Apple Inc.'s iTunes. In quick succession, The Wubbcast was launched for pre-schoolers in January 2006, and ReFrederator featuring vintage public domain cartoons in April 2006. Channel Frederator became the model for Seibert's media company Next New Networks and reaches almost 4,000,000 video views monthly.
On June 25, 2007 Variety article announced the studio had formed Frederator Films, dedicated to creating animated feature films budgeted under $20 million. Frederator's first feature is set up at Paramount Pictures, co-produced with J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions. They have also set up their first two animated features in a first look production arrangement for Sony Pictures Animation.
The studio produced its first original internet cartoons with independent animator Dan Meth. The Meth Minute 39 launched on September 5, 2007, featuring 39 of Meth's original character shorts. (The first cartoon was "Internet People," a video on the viral video sites YouTube and MySpaceTV that featured some popular Internet memes and internet people.) A spin-off, Nite Fite, debuted in October 2008. These series have totaled over 35,000,000 video views to date.
Random! Cartoons, the latest Frederator series of short cartoon series, began airing on Nicktoons in 2009; it spawned two TV series, Fanboy & Chum Chum and Adventure Time, as well as the web series, Bravest Warriors.
Frederator announced its new YouTube funded channel and adult production label, Cartoon Hangover in February 2012. At launch, Frederator produced three animated series for the channel: Bravest Warriors, created by Pendleton Ward; SuperFuckers, created by James Kochalka; and Too Cool! Cartoons, an incubator featuring content from different animators. Bravest Warriors premiered on November 8, 2012 and SuperFuckers premiered on November 30, 2012.
In July 2013 as part of Too Cool! Cartoons Cartoon Hangover premiered the first part of the 10-minute short film, Bee and PuppyCat created by Natasha Allegri. Due to its popularity, in November 2013 Frederator launched a Kickstarter to fund a first season of the series, which was successful and raised $872,133 toward more episodes of the show. The project was the most funded animation and web series Kickstarter at the conclusion, and the fourth most-funded Film/Video project.
In 2013, Frederator launched a digital-only ebook company, Frederator Books. Frederator Books published its first title, "The Lieography of Babe Ruth" in March 2013.
In 2014, Frederator announced the launch of The Channel Frederator Network, a Multi Channel Network (MCN) of independently owned animation channels on YouTube. Since its start, Channel Frederator Network has generated more than one billion views, and averages more than 30 million views a month, across its network of more than 200 channels. Some of its leading channels are FilmCow (just over 1 million subscribers), Cartoon Hangover (over 1 million subscribers), and Simon's Cat (over 2,800,000 subscribers), which is YouTube's #2 animated channel. Once part of the network, Frederator handles all advertising and distribution for its channels on YouTube, promoting the show and its licensed merchandise.