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Blue Ant Media

Blue Ant Media Inc.
Company typePrivate
IndustryMass media
Founded2011; 13 years ago (2011)
FoundersMichael MacMillan
HeadquartersToronto, Ontario,
Area served
Key people
Michael MacMillan (CEO)
ProductsBroadcasting, publishing, television production, television channels
  • Blue Ant International
  • Blue Ant Studios

Blue Ant Media Inc. is a Canadian broadcasting and media company headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. The company was founded by Michael MacMillan and formed in 2011 following the acquisition of Glassbox Television. Its name was chosen in reference to William Gibson's informal "Blue Ant" trilogy.[1]

The company owns both domestic and international television channels, studios, and publishing assets.



On December 22, 2011, Blue Ant Media announced that Torstar had acquired a minority stake in the company.[2]

On December 21, 2011, Blue Ant Media announced that it had entered into an agreement to purchase specialty broadcaster High Fidelity HDTV.[3] It initially purchased 29.9% of the company with the remaining 70.1% acquired when the deal was approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. The acquisition was completed on August 1, 2012.[4][5]

On August 17, 2012, Blue Ant Media announced that it would be purchasing the specialty channel Bold from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for an undisclosed amount, conditional on government approval.[6] After initially purchasing a 15% minority stake in Canadian publishing company Quarto Communications in the summer of 2011,[7] Blue Ant Media purchased the remaining shares in the company in December 2012, which had been renamed Cottage Life Media.[8] Bold would later relaunch under the Cottage Life brand.

In April 2014, the company purchased a minority stake in the digital media company and multi-channel network Omnia Media.[9] In so doing, they retained CEO Tamoor Shafi and Co-Founder Austin Long to focus on expanding its reach with brands.[9][10]

In November 2014, the company bought a majority stake in Choice TV, marking their first international expansion.[11][12][13]

In December 2015, Blue Ant Media and Smithsonian Networks teamed to launch Blue Skye Entertainment, a new UK-based company exclusively focused on 4K content.[14]

In December 2016, Blue Ant partnered with BBC Worldwide to launch BBC Earth in Canada, as a rebranding of its existing channel radX.[15]

In May 2017, Blue Ant Media bought the Asia-Pacific broadcaster Racat Group, including factual producer NHNZ, Singapore-based studio Beach House Pictures, Sydney-based Northern Pictures, developer Runaway Play, and a majority stake in ZooMoo. The purchase was considered to be complementary to the Blue Ant's factual and nature-oriented programming.[16][17][18]

Expansion, MarbleMedia acquisition (2018–present)

In February 2018, Omnia Media was renamed Blue Ant Digital Studios, coinciding with the launch of several new original series on Facebook Watch, and an accompanying expansion beyond video gaming content.[19] In October 2018, Blue Ant acquired the Toronto-based Saloon Media.[20]

In December 2020, Blue Ant entered the free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) market by launching HauntTV, a channel devoted to horror and supernatural programming, on The Roku Channel in Canada.[21] It has since launched several additional FAST channels in Canada and the United States; including CrimeTime, TotalCrime, Homeful, and HistoryTime.[22][23][24][25]

In February 2021, Blue Ant Media sold its majority stake in New Zealand production company NHNZ to producer Julie Christie and was rebranded as NHNZ Worldwide with Blue Ant Media retaining a 45% stake in the rebranded company and continues to own NHNZ's catalogue.[26]

In March 2021, Blue Ant expanded its partnership with BBC Studios, relaunching Treasure HD as BBC First. The channel is a de facto successor to Corus Entertainment's BBC Canada; that channel had originally been founded by Alliance Atlantis, where Blue Ant founder Michael MacMillan had been an executive.[27][28]

In June 2022, Blue Ant Media and its distribution arm Blue Ant International announced that they brought British-based distributor Drive Media Rights and its library with Drive Media Rights founders Ben Barrett and Lilla Hurst joining Blue Ant.[29]

In September 2022, Blue Ant Media had announced their acquisition of TV marketplace company Media Pulse and will become a standalone unit within the company[30]

In August 2023, Blue Ant announced its acquisition of MarbleMedia, and the merging of the two company's production and distribution units.[31]

In February 2024, Blue Ant Media announced that they sold Singaporean prodco Beach House Pictures to RTL Group-owned British entertainment company Fremantle.[32]




  1. ^ "Watch Out For The Blue Ant". Archived from the original on 2023-04-22. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  2. ^ "Torstar acquires 25 per cent stake in Blue Ant Media". Toronto Star. December 22, 2011. Archived from the original on May 4, 2022. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  3. ^ Blue Ant Media Enters Agreement to Acquire High Fidelity HDTV Archived 2012-01-11 at the Wayback Machine CNW press release 2011-12-21
  4. ^ Blue Ant Completes Acquisition of High Fidelity HDTV Archived 2012-08-03 at the Wayback Machine, Broadcaster Magazine, August 1, 2012.
  5. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-419 Archived 2013-05-31 at the Wayback Machine CRTC 2012-08-01
  6. ^ Blue Ant to buy Bold Archived 2012-08-26 at the Wayback Machine 2012-08-17
  7. ^ "Quarto, Blue Ant Media team up on specialty channel venture". Archived from the original on 2022-07-01. Retrieved 2022-04-06.
  8. ^ Blue Ant Media buys Cottage Life Media, terms not immediately available[permanent dead link] Canadian Business 2012-12-05
  9. ^ a b "Canada's Blue Ant Media Invests in YouTube MCN Omnia Media". The Hollywood Reporter. April 2014. Archived from the original on 2019-02-20. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  10. ^ "2016 LA Games Conference Speaker: Austin Long". April 19, 2016. Archived from the original on April 18, 2023. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  11. ^ "Blue Ant takes majority stake in NZ's Choice TV". Real Screen. 4 November 2014. Archived from the original on 3 November 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  12. ^ "Blue Ant Acquires Controlling Interest in New Zealand Broadcaster". Broadcaster Magazine. 4 November 2014. Archived from the original on 3 November 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Choice TV". Archived from the original on 2015-04-14. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  14. ^ "Blue Ant Media teams with Smithsonian to launch UK 4K outfit". Digital TV Europe. December 14, 2015. Archived from the original on July 26, 2022. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  15. ^ Craig, Sean (6 December 2016). "Blue Ant Media to launch BBC Earth channel in Canada, shut down adventure-focused radX". Financial Post. Archived from the original on 7 December 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  16. ^ "How Blue Ant will bolster its kids biz with Racat buy". KidScreen. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  17. ^ "Blue Ant debuts 200 hours of kids content". KidScreen. Archived from the original on 2017-11-25. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
  18. ^ "Blue Ant Media acquires Racat Group in effort to expand globally". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2020-08-07. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  19. ^ Chmielewski, Dawn C. (2018-02-20). "Omnia Media's Production Arm Renamed Blue Ant Digital As New Facebook Watch Series Debut". Deadline. Archived from the original on 2019-02-20. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  20. ^ "Blue Ant acquires Saloon Media". Realscreen. Archived from the original on 2019-02-20. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  21. ^ Blue Ant Media launches HauntTV on The Roku Channel Archived 2022-04-17 at the Wayback Machine Playback, 2020-12-17
  22. ^ Blue Ant launches streaming true crime channel Archived 2022-04-17 at the Wayback Machine MediaInCanada, 2021-03-8
  23. ^ Blue Ant looks to true crime again for latest FAST play Archived 2024-01-17 at the Wayback Machine MediaInCanada, 2022-02-09
  24. ^ Blue Ant Media launches lifestyles-focused FAST channel Archived 2022-04-17 at the Wayback Machine Playback, 2022-02-16
  25. ^ Blue Ant Media launches HistoryTime on LG Channels Archived 2022-07-27 at the Wayback Machine, Real Screen, 2022-07-27
  26. ^ "Julie Christie Acquires Control of Factual Producer NHNZ". Variety. February 26, 2021. Retrieved May 9, 2024.
  27. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (March 3, 2021). "BBC Studios, Blue Ant Media Team to Launch BBC First Channel in Canada (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on May 13, 2021. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  28. ^ Craig, Sean (December 6, 2016). "Blue Ant Media to launch BBC Earth channel in Canada, shut down adventure-focused radX". Financial Post. Archived from the original on May 12, 2021. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  29. ^ Ravindran, Manori (June 6, 2022). "Blue Ant International Buys Distributor Drive Media Rights". Variety. Retrieved May 9, 2024.
  30. ^ Summerfield, Patti (September 29, 2022). "Blue Ant acquires connected TV marketplace Media Pulse". Media in Canada. Retrieved May 9, 2024.
  31. ^ Ravindran, Manori (August 10, 2023). "'Blown Away' Producer MarbleMedia Acquired by Canada's Blue Ant Media, Production and Distribution Merging Into Combined Studio (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on August 12, 2023. Retrieved August 16, 2023.
  32. ^ "Fremantle takes over Beach House Pictures from Blue Ant Media". C21Media. February 8, 2024. Retrieved May 9, 2024.
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Blue Ant Media
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