Blue Ant Media buys Marblemedia as Canadian market consolidates

Marblemedia & Blue Ant team

LR: Matthew Hornburg, Michael MacMillan & Mark Bishop

Blue Ant Media has snapped up fellow Canadian producer Marblemedia, as well as its sales division Distribution360.

Marblemedia’s Mark Bishop and Matthew Hornburg – who co-founded the company in 2001 – become co-presidents of the combined operation and will report into Michael MacMillan, CEO & co-founder of Toronto-based Blue Ant.

The deal will see production companies Marblemedia, Blue Ant Studios, Saloon Media and Look Mom! Productions combined, while distributors Distribution360 and Blue Ant International will also merge operations.

Laura Michalchyshyn

It is unclear how the deal will affect staffing levels: on the distribution side, Blue Ant International is home to 5,000 hours of content across all genres, while Distribution360 represents nearly 2,000 hours of content and formats.

Sam Sniderman will serve as Blue Ant Media’s chief commercial officer, working closely with MacMillan and CFO, Robb Chase on business development, partnerships and M&A.

Laura Michalchyshyn will continue her duties as chief creative officer, working with global talent for Blue Ant, while Singapore-based Beach House Pictures will remain independent.

Marblemedia is known for shows such as Netflix’s Blown Away and Drink Masters, as well as  A Cut Above for Discovery, Race Against The Tide for CBC and the upcoming Hulu and Prime Video teen comedy Davey and Jonesie’s Locker.

It is also prepping documentary, Mr. Dressup: The Magic of Make-Believe, for Prime Video later this year.

Marbledia & Blue Ant scale play

The Canada’s Drag Race producer said the aim of the deal was “to create bigger creative projects at scale with renowned IP, innovative originals and the world’s best-in-class talent, while expanding its reach with new partnerships with streamers and broadcasters in North America and around the world.”

It marks the latest growth spurt for privately held Blue Ant, which has been increasing its FAST and channels operations of late. It also acquired Lilla Hurst and Ben Barrett’s UK-based firm Drive last year, extending its unscripted reach.

Race Against The Tide

MacMillan said: “Marblemedia has long been regarded as one of the most respected production and distribution companies in the unscripted and scripted space, having created huge hits for the biggest streamers and broadcasters in the industry.

“With Mark and Matt leading our combined studios and rights business, Blue Ant Media is well positioned in its growth as an international media company with production, rights and an established global channels division all operating at scale.”

Bishop and Hornburg added: “We are excited to join forces with Michael MacMillan, a trailblazer in our industry known for scaling industry-leading companies.

“Building this new merged production and distribution studio will bring together our talented teams who have a shared vision and belief that original content and rich IP are the greatest differentiator.

“The appetite for premium content remains strong in the global market, and we can better serve this demand with high-quality content and by working with best-in-class collaborators.”

Mike Holmes

Blue Ant is behind shows such as Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks for Prime Video and docuseries Casey Anthony: Where the Truth Lies for Peacock, as well as true crime show See No Evil and Gary And His Demons for Amazon FreeVee.

Aside from production and distribution, the company also operates linear and FAST channels under brands such as Love Nature, Cottage Life, Smithsonian Channel (Canada), BBC Earth (Canada), HauntTV, Homeful, Drag Race Universe, CrimeTime, TotalCrime, HistoryTime and Love Pets.

The company – which has offices in LA, New York, Singapore, Tokyo, London, Washington and Beijing – also struck a deal to buy the unscripted original series and specials of Mike Holmes, host of DIY Network’s Holme’s Buys Homes, subsequently launching a FAST channel stocked with his shows.

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