Skip to main content

Blue Ant co-founder and CEO Michael MacMillan says the acquisition ‘materially increases our content-creating ability, and increases our presence in Asia-Pacific.’

JENNIFER ROBERTS/The Globe and Mail

As it looks to produce more video content and to expand internationally, Toronto-based Blue Ant Media has acquired Sydney, Australia-based media company Racat Group.

The deal gives Blue Ant new production companies based in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as TV networks in Asia and Latin America, and a mobile game developer. And it expands Blue Ant's existing focus on reality TV, in particular nature and wildlife programming.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition doubles Blue Ant's employee count from roughly 200 (70 of them based internationally) to roughly 400 – the majority of whom are now based overseas. Including the acquisition, Blue Ant's annual revenue will reach $200-million to $250-million, the private company said, the significant majority of which will come from international sources. Blue Ant did not disclose exact numbers for its annual revenue prior to the deal.

Story continues below advertisement

Reflecting its growing focus, Blue Ant is also creating a new role: CEO of kids and global networks, which will be held by Racat consultant Ward Platt.

"We all know that the international media market has changed significantly, primarily due to the Internet but also other factors. It's really caused the world to go from an economy of scarcity to one of abundance," said Blue Ant co-founder and CEO Michael MacMillan. "It's broken down geographical boundaries, and allowed viewers to make way more choices than before. In that context, the strategic priority for Blue Ant is to significantly increase our ability to be a creator, producer and owner of content, especially in genres and categories that we think will travel well and thrive in this splintered media world."

The appeal of nature and wildlife programming in particular, Mr. MacMillan said, is that the programs have widespread appeal and are easily translated into multiple versions for a variety of global markets. Blue Ant has also made investments into children's programming in the past but wants to do more.

Blue Ant already produces and distributes TV and online video content, as well as operating TV channels (and accompanying websites and online streaming video) such as Smithsonian Channel Canada, nature and wildlife channels Love Nature and BBC Earth in Canada, HGTV in New Zealand and music channel A.Side (formerly AUX).

The acquisition will add three more production companies, which have made TV shows for Discovery International, National Geographic, PBS, ABC and others: Dunedin, N.Z.-based NHNZ, specializes in natural history and other documentary and reality programs, including the new co-produced series Big Pacific; Singapore-based Beach House Pictures produces reality and entertainment shows including Asia's Next Top Model and others spanning the travel, food, lifestyle genres, as well as children's programming; and Sydney-based Northern Pictures produces content focused on wildlife and social issues, as well as children's nature programming.

The purchase of Racat also includes 70 per cent of broadcaster ZooMoo Networks, a partnership with AT&T's DirecTV Latin America, which has channels across Latin America and Asia, as well as a gaming app for kids. And it gives Blue Ant the mobile game developer Runaway Play, which creates games with a wildlife and nature theme.

"This materially increases our content-creating ability, and increases our presence in Asia-Pacific," Mr. MacMillan said. "In the turbulent media space we find ourselves in now … you want to be in the business of owning the content and not just the shelf space on which that content is placed."

Rob Carrick discusses the results of a survey if Millennials which sheds some light on the struggles this age group is facing in the job market.
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter