Blue Ant Media, an international producer, distributor and channel operator headquartered in Toronto, Canada, announced its acquisition of international media organisation, RACAT Group. 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.
Prior to launching RACAT in 2012, David Haslingdenwas 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 specialising 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.