Television Business International

Sander Schwartz joins Subway Surfers prodco

Kids-logo-460_2Sander SchwartzFormer Warner Bros., Sony and FremantleMedia animation chief Sander Schwartz will oversee development of popular mobile game Subway Surfers into a TV series.

Schwartz has joined Copenhagen-based producer SYBO as head of animation, and will develop Subway Surfers for TV, film and other platforms.

“With over 1.5 billion downloads around the world, Subway Surfers is well on the way to becoming a strong brand with evergreen potential,” said Schwartz.

“This initiative marks one of the very first to migrate an app-based mobile game to longform animation, and it is a trend we will see more of in the future.”

SYBO launched in 2012 along with Kiloo, and claims the game is now played on every fourth smartphone in the world.

Subway SurfersSchwartz is best known as a president of Warner Bros. Animation, Sony Pictures Family Entertainment Group and FremantleMedia Kids & Family Entertainment.

More recently, he has been running kids social network Grom Social, and developed and produced Activision Blizzard Film and TV-produced Skylanders Academy for Netflix.

He has also been helping Chinese kids TV firm UYoung Entertainment launch a US base.

The American exec will divide his time between SYBO’s creative team in Denmark and developing content in Hollywood.

“An important aspect of the project will be to live and breathe the special atmosphere of SYBO in its birthplace, and to bring the creative community in Hollywood into that world,” said Schwartz.

“Starting with short subjects, which begin production soon, our goal is to have a full-fledged longform series ready to go by the end of the year. Conversations are already well underway with potential distribution partners.”

SYBO has brought in Brent Friedman (Star Wars Rebels, Clone Wars) to script the shorts and work up the longform series.

”With both Sander and Brent on board, we have fortified our position as universe-builders and brand-makers way beyond the mobile screen,” said Mathias Gredal Nørvig, managing director, SYBO.