RACAT’s companies include production houses NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Northern Pictures (Australia); International broadcaster ZooMoo Networks (Singapore); and mobile game developer and publisher Runaway Play (New Zealand)
Blue Ant Media’s acquisition of RACAT’s operations builds the company’s growing international production capacity and will fuel its content sales business and worldwide video channels
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Toronto, Canada (May 24, 2017) – Blue Ant Media, an international producer, distributor and channel operator headquartered in Toronto, Canada, announced today its acquisition of international media organization, RACAT Group (racatgroup.com). Included in the purchase are prestigious production houses NHNZ (formerly Natural History New Zealand), Beach House Pictures and Northern Pictures who license their content to digital and traditional channels worldwide. The purchase also includes international children’s nature broadcaster ZooMoo Networks, and Runaway Play, a mobile game developer and publisher. These businesses operate out of Singapore, Dunedin, Sydney, Beijing and Taipei.
“Blue Ant Media is an ambitious company, well positioned to significantly grow its content production, distribution and channel businesses internationally, notably in Asia Pacific which is why this acquisition is so important for our business,” said Michael MacMillan, Co-founder and CEO, Blue Ant Media. “I’ve known RACAT’s CEO, David Haslingden, for many years and he is a seasoned media executive with an impressive history in the industry spanning more than two decades. His expertise will be invaluable as we continue our worldwide expansion.”
“I am delighted that the RACAT companies are now part of the Blue Ant Media family. Our editorial focuses, product lines and territorial presences make us a perfect fit. While the RACAT businesses have achieved a lot in the last five years, there’s no doubt those achievements will be dwarfed by what we get done in the next five as part of Blue Ant Media,” said David Haslingden, CEO, RACAT.
Prior to launching RACAT in 2012, David Haslingden was President and COO of Fox Networks Group, a role he held after serving as CEO of Fox International Channels and National Geographic Channels Worldwide for ten years. Haslingden, who will remain based Sydney, has become a significant shareholder and member of Blue Ant Media’s board of directors and will be a key member of the team devising the company’s ongoing international growth strategy.
Effective September 1st, Blue Ant Media will appoint Ward Platt, current RACAT consultant, to a newly created role, CEO, Kids and Global Networks. Platt’s previous leadership roles include COO positions at National Geographic Partners and Fox International Channels and CEO of National Geographic Channels International from 2013-2015. Platt will be responsible for crafting Blue Ant Media’s global linear and streaming video channels strategy outside of Canada and New Zealand. Operating from Los Angeles, Platt will join Blue Ant Media’s executive management team and will report to Raja Khanna, CEO, Television and Digital, Blue Ant Media.
NHNZ, based in Dunedin (New Zealand) with an office in Beijing, has been in operation for 40 years and is one of the largest and most respected natural history and factual production houses in the world. NHNZ’s storytelling prowess has been recognized with more than 250 international awards including Emmy awards and the prestigious Wildscreen Panda. More recently, the production house’s highly anticipated blue chip series Big Pacific (5×60), co-produced with partners PBS, CCTV, ZDF Enterprises, Discovery International, Channel 9 and ARTE, premiered in Cannes at MIPDOC in 2017 and was met with critical acclaim. NHNZ’s roster of partners and buyers also include National Geographic Channels, Animal Planet and NHK. The company’s team is made up of over 100 highly-skilled filmmakers, craftspeople, media executives, researchers and a dedicated group of technicians. The business will continue to be led by Kyle Murdoch, Managing Director, who has 15 years of experience working around the globe in factual television as a producer, director and writer.
Singapore-based Beach House Pictures is one of Asia’s largest independent production companies, with offices in Beijing and Taipei. The production house has created 600+ hours of international HD, 3D and 4K content specializing in factual and entertainment programming, creating highly-rated series such as Frontier Borneo (10×30) for Discovery Channel and UKTV; Wild City (2×60) narrated by David Attenborough for Channel News Asia; Asia’s Next Top Model Season 3 (13×60) for Starworld; and Machine Impossible (6×60) for National Geographic. Five other divisions expand Beach House Pictures’ capabilities beyond factual to children’s content with Beach House Kids which recently produced Teddies for Okto and Channel Nine Australia; Beach House Entertainment for reality formats and general entertainment programs, currently producing Cesar’s Recruit Asia Season 2; Beach House Labs for digital and branded content; Beach House Academy for skills training and education; and Beach House Studios for Virtual Reality, 3D, animation and broadcast design. The multi-award winning company launched in 2005 and was co-founded by Managing Director, Jocelyn Little and Creative Director, Donovan Chan. Little and Chan will continue to lead the company and have a material stake in Beach House Pictures.
Northern Pictures, based in Sydney, Australia, is a leading producer of original content for both the Australian and international markets. Its factual division delivers large-scale factual television and feature documentaries with a focus on wildlife and social issues. It is known for innovation, priding itself on documentary series underpinned by journalistic values, unique access and cinematic sensibilities. Series include Kakadu (ABC), Secret Life of Pearls (National Geographic), Changing Minds (ABC), Life on the Reef (ABC, PBS, Arte), Outback (PBS, 9), Whiteley and Blue (Transmission Films). In late 2015, Northern Pictures expanded to create Northern Pictures Kids. With more than 160 hours of children’s television in production, Northern Pictures Kids is rapidly gaining a reputation for its entertaining, nature inspired content that excites and engages young audiences in the preschool and kids space. The company’s founder and Managing Director, Sue Clothier is recognized as one of Australia’s leading factual production executives and creative producers. Clothier continues to lead Northern Pictures.
ZooMoo Networks is an interactive, children’s nature broadcaster with television channels available in over 20 territories including Mexico, Latin America, Singapore, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Maldives, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. ZooMoo Networks is a joint venture with DirectTV Latin America, an AT&T company, which holds a 30% stake in the company. The business’ television programming is comprised of over 500 hours of original content, combining spectacular wildlife footage with puppetry, animations and narration to create a unique viewing and learning experience for preschool viewers, aged 3-6. ZooMoo’s revolutionary second screen app provides multi-platform, interactive play for kids via iOS and Android devices.
Founded in 2010, Runaway Play is an independent mobile game developer and publisher, based in Dunedin, New Zealand, that builds games inspired by wildlife and nature. The business now owns and operates three mobile games: Flutter, Splash and Starlight. The team of 25 artists, developers, designers and publishing staff are also in development on Virtual Reality game concepts.
Blue Ant Media is a privately held, international content producer, distributor and channel operator. From our production houses around the world, we create content for multiple genres including factual, factual entertainment, short-form digital series and kids programming. Our distribution business, Blue Ant International, offers a catalogue of 2,300+ hours of content, including the largest 4K natural history offering on the market. Blue Ant Media’s international channel business offers a portfolio of media brands such as Love Nature (International), ZooMoo Networks (International), Smithsonian Channel Canada, BBC Earth (Canada) and HGTV (New Zealand). Blue Ant Media is headquartered in Toronto, with operations in Los Angeles, Singapore, Auckland, Dunedin, London, Sydney, Beijing and Taipei.