Follows acquisition of Sydney’s Racat Group

Frontier Borneo

Canadian producer-distributor Blue Ant Media will become a global player in natural history programming following its acquisition of the parent of blue-chip producers NHNZ and Beach House Pictures.

Toronto-based Blue Ant has extended its reach into Asia Pacific and Latin America by buying Sydney’s Racat Group and its six subsidiaries.

Dunedin-based factual producer NHNZ produced 5 x 60-minute series Big Pacific for PBS and Discovery Networks International, while Singaporean indie Beach House Pictures made David Attenborough-narrated Wild City for Channel NewsAsia.

Racat’s other subsidiaries include Australian indie Northern Pictures, New Zealand mobile game developer Runaway Play, and Beijing-based children’s nature broadcaster ZooMoo Networks, which operates channels in Latin America and Asia.

The company, which owns UK indie Antenna Pictures, has hired a London-based global production head to coordinate the international effort. The individual will be announced shortly.

The deal will boost Blue Ant’s annual revenues to around £130m, six years after launch. Blue Ant chief executive of TV and digital Raja Khanna said the new production assets, which produce 300 hours of output annually, would be “fuel” for its distribution business.

Blue Ant also operates 11 channels, including Canadian networks T+E, Cottage Life and BBC Earth, HGTV New Zealand and 4K natural history SVoD service Love Nature, which operates in 32 countries.

But Khanna said content from its new subsidiaries will not necessarily land on Blue Ant channels.

“The right business will always be our guiding principle,” he said. “We’re happy to continue production relationships with all the buyers these companies have.”

Khanna added that the deal will allow Blue Ant to expand into other genres, noting ZooMoo’s strengths in kids’ programming and Beach House Pictures’ capabilities in virtual reality.

Former Fox Networks Group president David Haslingden, who launched Racat in 2012, will become a board member and “significant shareholder” in Blue Ant following the deal.