What happened

Shares of Genius Brands (NASDAQ:GNUS) rose 3.3% in trading Tuesday after the company reported first-quarter results that showed revenue rocketed 218% from the year-ago period, a seemingly robust performance for the children's media company.

So what

Yet as is often the case with Genius Brands, not all is what it seems. In a post on the company's website, CEO Andy Heyward discussed the revenue gains, acquisitions, and viewership on its Kartoon! Channel. What he failed to say was that the entire increase in revenue was solely the result of Genius Brands' acquisition in February of the public relations, marketing, and media company ChizComm.

Magnifying glass over financial report

Image source: Getty Images.

Genius Brands' revenue from licensing and royalties, or what was previously its primary source of money, actually tumbled 16% year over year (TV and home entertainment revenue was up 60%, though).

Now what

No doubt the millions of views the Kartoon! Channel received from viewers downloading the app are helpful to its future endeavors, and ChizComm, as a public relations and marketing company, could be a source of future growth. But Genius Brands did not see its revenue triple organically this quarter.

As has become routine with Genius Brands, the breathless press releases it issues need to be parsed closely, and there's less than meets the eye with this media company's earnings report. It could lead the stock to give up all the gains it made as investors realize things aren't as good as they were made to seem.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.