Blue Ant Media, a portfolio company of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (TSX: FFH, FFH.U) and Torstar Corporation (TSX: TS.B), has acquired Saloon Media, a Toronto based production company specializing in globally relevant factual television.
The acquisition is a key step in the expansion of Blue Ant Media’s North American production business, which will see the media company rapidly expanding its original content business in the Canadian and US markets.
Saloon Media’s Michael Kot (CEO), Steve Gamester (Executive Producer), Paul Kilback (Executive Producer) and Betty Orr (Head of Production) will join the Blue Ant Media’s Global Production unit, which includes NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Antenna Pictures (London), Blue Ant Digital Studios (Los Angeles), Look Mom! Productions (Toronto) and Northern Pictures (Sydney).
Blue Ant Media is a privately held, international content producer, distributor and channel operator. The company is also backed by Relay Ventures, Kensington Capital Partners, and Difference Capital Financial Inc. (TSX-V: DCF)
photo credit: Saloon Media
Blue Ant Media Acquires Toronto-based Saloon Media as part of Ongoing Production Expansion in North America
Saloon Media’s CEO, Michael Kot, as well as Betty Orr, Paul Kilback and Steve Gamester have joined Blue Ant Media in a key move to expand Blue Ant Media’s North American production business
(Toronto, Canada – October 11, 2018) – Blue Ant Media, an international content producer, distributor and channel operator, announced today its acquisition of Saloon Media, a Toronto-based production company specializing in globally relevant factual television. Saloon Media’s Michael Kot (CEO), Steve Gamester (Executive Producer), Paul Kilback (Executive Producer) and Betty Orr (Head of Production) will join the Blue Ant Media’s Global Production unit, which includes NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Antenna Pictures (London), Blue Ant Digital Studios (Los Angeles), Look Mom! Productions (Toronto) and Northern Pictures (Sydney). The purchase is a key step in the expansion of Blue Ant Media’s North American production business, which will see the media company rapidly expanding its original content business in the Canadian and US markets.
“Blue Ant Media is committed to growing its content business in both Canada and the United States. The acquisition of Saloon Media is a key step in the execution of this strategy, as their award-winning factual content and notable creative talent fit perfectly within our content growth strategy in North America,” said Sam Sniderman, Executive Vice-President, Global Production, Blue Ant Media. “We have long admired Michael Kot, and his team, for the quality and global reach of their programming and we are thrilled to have them as colleagues.”
Saloon Media, based in Toronto (Canada) and launched in 2013, is a leading factual television and digital content producer. Its recent credits include the CSA-nominated series Mummies Alive for HISTORY (Canada), Smithsonian Channel (U.S.) and Yesterday (UK); the 10-part broadcast and web series Tornado Hunters for CMT; the long running returning series See No Evil, co-produced with the UK’s Arrow Media for DISCOVERY ID US; the eight-part series, Hunting Nazi Treasure for HISTORY (Canada), American Heroes Channel (U.S.) and More4 (UK); and international service work for several series and specials including The Kennedys, a six-part CNN mini-series in partnership with Raw TV in the UK.
“Saloon’s ambition to reach a wider audience and connect with new global business partners dovetails perfectly with Blue Ant Media’s push to expand content production for world markets. We’re extremely excited to be part of Blue Ant’s growing North American team, and on a personal note, I look forward to working once again with Michael MacMillan to make great programs,” said Michael Kot, CEO, Saloon Media.
Prior to launching Saloon Media, Michael Kot served as Senior Vice-President Factual for eOne, overseeing and executive-producing original factual programming for the company’s television group and Vice-President Original Factual Content for Canwest channels, including Global Television, HISTORY, Mystery, National Geographic Canada and IFC. Kot was also responsible for leading programming, acquisitions and the general operations of BBC Canada.
Steve Gamester has worked as a broadcaster, development executive and series showrunner. His recent productions include Hunting Nazi Treasure, Mummies Alive, Perfect Storms, Miracles Decoded and Museum Secrets, all multi-part series that have broadcast around the world. He is currently producing 9/11 Kids, which examines the hidden impacts of 9/11 on American society. From 2005 to 2009, he was a Production Executive of Original Programming at Canwest and Alliance Atlantis, and oversaw more than 300 hours of programming for HISTORY, National Geographic, Showcase and Global Television. Gamester’s productions have been nominated for over 20 Canadian Screen Awards.
Paul Kilback is a multi-award-winning Series Producer, Director and Editor with over 20 years of experience filming and editing documentaries. He has produced and/or directed scores of television projects including: Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan, Greatest Tank Battles, Museum Secrets and Hunting Nazi Treasure. More recently, he completed the critically acclaimed Tornado Hunters series and is currently putting the finishing touches on a soon-to-be-released, four-part true crime special.
Betty Orr, Head of Production, has over 20 years of television and film production experience, ranging from producing award-winning television series such as Kids in the Hall to her critically acclaimed feature film, CUBE. Prior to joining Saloon when it launched in 2013, Orr worked with Entertainment One, Cineflix, Decode Entertainment (DHX Media), Jim Henson Productions and CBC on various television projects, including young adult scripted comedies, docudrama series, documentaries and Movie of the Weeks.
Sam Sniderman, EVP, Global Production, Blue Ant Media oversees the production, finance and business affairs teams at Blue Ant Media, which include Saloon Media (Toronto), NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Antenna Pictures (London), Blue Ant Digital Studios (Los Angeles), Look Mom! Productions (Toronto) and Northern Pictures (Sydney). Sniderman is formerly the Global Chief Operating Officer and MD, Film and Entertainment at Pulse Films (a Vice Media company). In these roles, he was responsible for the commercial performance of Pulse’s TV, film and branded content output and helped to guide Pulse through rapid growth, including scripted and unscripted commissions from Channel 4, Sky Atlantic and ITV. He also spearheaded the financing and distribution of award-winning theatrical feature films like 20,000 Days on Earth (Nick Cave), Who Is Dayani Cristal (Gael García Bernal) and Shut Up and Play the Hits (LCD Soundsystem).
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 3,000+ 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), Blue Ant Entertainment (International), Blue Ant Extreme (International) and HGTV (New Zealand). Blue Ant Media is headquartered in Toronto, with operations in Los Angeles, Singapore, Auckland, Dunedin, London, Washington, Sydney, Beijing and Taipei. blueantmedia.com
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