ZMC backed 9 Story acquires Out of the Blue – updated

9 Story Media Group Inc., a portfolio company of ZMC (formerly ZelnickMedia), has acquired Out of the Blue Enterprises. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 2005 by Blue’s Clues co-creator Angela Santomero and former Nickelodeon executive Samantha Freeman, New York City based Out of the Blue is best known for the Emmy-nominated literacy series Super WHY; the Mister Rogers Neighborhood inspired Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood; and the interactive art adventure program Creative Galaxy for Amazon Studios.

Out of the Blue will become a wholly owned subsidiary of 9 Story Media Group with Managing Director Samantha Freeman staying on to lead the company and co-founder Angela Santomero continuing to serve as Creator and Executive Producer.

Known for its full-scale production and international distribution capabilities, Toronto based 9 Story Media Group employs almost 600 staff with facilities in Toronto, Dublin and Manchester. Its award winning animation studio, Brown Bag Films, is recognized around the world for hit children’s series such as Doc McStuffins, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Top Wing, Octonauts and The Magic School Bus: Rides Again.

Founded in 2001, ZMC is a New York based private equity firm focused on the media & communications industry.

In July 2014, ZMC and former DHX Media principal and Decode Entertainment co-founder, Neil Court, acquired undisclosed stakes in 9 Story, with Court becoming its Executive Chairman. ZMC made its investment through ZMC II (formerly ZM Capital II), a US $360 million 2013-vintage fund.

Updated: ZelnickMedia is now known as ZMC.

photo credit: Out of the Blue Enterprises

News Release

9 Story Media Group Acquires Out of the Blue Enterprises

TORONTO, Jan. 12, 2018 /CNW/ – 9 Story Media Group is pleased to announce that it has acquired Out of the Blue Enterprises, a leader in children’s media across content creation, TV production, digital applications and consumer products. Founded in 2005 by Blue’s Clues co-creator Angela Santomero and former Nickelodeon executive Samantha Freeman, Out of the Blue is best known for the Emmy-nominated literacy series Super WHY; the Mister Rogers Neighborhood inspired Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood; and the interactive art adventure program Creative Galaxy for Amazon Studios. Out of the Blue also owns the legacy toy brand Colorforms, named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Greatest Toys of All-Time, and the company is in production on a new animated series based on the classic brand. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Out of the Blue, based in New York City, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of 9 Story Media Group with Managing Director Samantha Freeman staying on to lead the company and Co-Founder Angela Santomero continuing to serve as Creator and Executive Producer.

9 Story and Out of the Blue have previously worked together on the hit animated series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which 9 Story produces and distributes internationally with The Fred Rogers Company in association with Out of the Blue. The two companies have also worked together on Creative Galaxy for Amazon Studios, which Out of the Blue produces and 9 Story is the animation partner. Both series are currently in production on new seasons.

Known for its full-scale production and international distribution capabilities, 9 Story Media Group employs almost 600 staff with facilities in Toronto, Dublin and Manchester. Its award winning animation studio, Brown Bag Films, is recognized around the world for hit children’s series such as Doc McStuffins, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Top Wing, Octonauts and The Magic School Bus: Rides Again. Out of the Blue is known for its in-house, award winning creative and full service management of licensing and merchandising.

Vince Commisso, President & CEO of 9 Story Media Group, said: “Having worked with Angela and Samantha on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Creative Galaxy, we have tremendous respect for their creative capabilities. Out of the Blue has a proven track record in developing unique and beloved brands for a preschool audience. Joining forces broadens our development capabilities, increases our consumer products reach and extends our presence in the U.S. We look forward to working with the entire Out of the Blue team and are absolutely thrilled to welcome them into the 9 Story Media Group family.”

Angela Santomero said, “We have enjoyed working closely with 9 Story over the past decade, producing uniquely engaging entertainment offerings for preschoolers that also serve as valuable resources for parents, caregivers and teachers.” Samantha Freeman added, “We are excited to join 9 Story’s expanding media platform and look forward to creating, producing and licensing current and new preschool properties together.”

About 9 Story Media Group
9 Story Media Group is a leading creator, producer and distributor of kids and family focused intellectual property. Its award-winning animation studio, Brown Bag Films, is recognized around the world for best-in-class brands such as Doc McStuffins, Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood, Octonauts, Wild Kratts, Peter Rabbit and The Magic School Bus: Rides Again. The company’s international distribution arm, 9 Story Distribution International, represents 2,700 half-hours of animated and live-action programming, seen on some of the most respected international channels and platforms. With facilities in Toronto, Dublin, Manchester, the 9 Story Media group of companies employ almost 600 creative and corporate staff.
www.9story.com

About Out of the Blue Enterprises
Out of the Blue Enterprises is a leader in children’s educational media, with a portfolio of breakthrough, interactive and multi-platform, educational entertainment for television, video, mobile apps and consumer products. Out of the Blue creates and produces Super WHY, the Emmy-nominated literacy series on PBS Kids; Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, for The Fred Rogers Co/PBS Kids; Wishenpoof and Creative Galaxy for Amazon Studios; and Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Room. Out of the Blue also develops top-rated mobile educational game apps, including Super WHY and Colorforms, and handles all licensing and merchandising activity for Super WHY, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and the Colorforms brand, which was acquired in 2014. Led by Co-Founders Angela C. Santomero, Creator of the hit preschool entertainment franchise, Blue’s Clues; and Samantha Freeman, a former Nickelodeon and toy industry executive, Out of the Blue aims to engage kids and families with age-appropriate, entertaining and engaging learning experiences. www.outoftheblueenterprises.com

SOURCE 9 Story Media Group

For further information: Jennifer Ansley, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, 9 Story Media Group, +1 416 530-9900 ext 230, jennifer.ansley@9story.com


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