WildBrain Ltd.
FormerlyDHX Media (2006–19)
Company typePublic
IndustryTelevision production
PredecessorsWildbrain Entertainment
Decode Entertainment
Halifax Film Company
Cookie Jar Group
DIC Entertainment
Ragdoll Worldwide
Founded2006; 18 years ago (2006)
FoundersMichael Donovan
Steven DeNure
Number of locations
Key people
Josh Scherba (president and CEO)
RevenueIncrease CA$439.8 million (FY 2019)
Number of employees
est. 1000 (2015)
Footnotes / references
The evolution of WildBrain
1968FilmFair London is founded
1971DIC Audiovisuel is founded
1972Strawberry Shortcake brand is first developed
1974CPLG is founded
1976CINAR and Colossal Pictures are founded
1982DIC Enterprises is founded
1984Ragdoll Productions is founded
1987DIC Audiovisuel closes
1988Studio B Productions is founded
1992Epitome Pictures is founded
1993DIC Enterprises becomes DIC Entertainment
1994Wild Brain is founded‚ and Red Rover Studios is founded, DIC Entertainment brands as The Incredible World of DIC
1995Platinum Disc Corporation is founded
1996CINAR buys FilmFair's library
1997Decode Entertainment is founded
1999Wild Brain acquires Colossal Pictures' employee base
2002Nerd Corps Entertainment is founded
2004Halifax Film Company is founded, CINAR rebrands as Cookie Jar Group
2005Platinum Disc Corporation merge as Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
2006Decode and Halifax Film merge as DHX Media, DIC acquires CPLG, and Ragdoll Worldwide is formed with BBC Worldwide
2007DHX Media buys Studio B Productions and Wild Brain becomes Wildbrain Entertainment
2008Cookie Jar Group absorbs DIC and House of Cool absorbs Red Rover Studios
2010DHX Media buys Wildbrain Entertainment‚ and Peanuts Worldwide is founded
2011Decode Entertainment and Red Rover Studios closes
2012DHX Media buys Cookie Jar Group
2013DHX Media buys Ragdoll Worldwide
2014DHX Media buys Epitome Pictures, Nerd Corps, and Echo Bridge Home Entertainment's family content library; Cookie Jar Group is absorbed
2016The WildBrain multi-channel network launches and Studio B and Nerd Corps merge as DHX Studios
2017Wildbrain Entertainment closes; DHX Media buys Peanuts Worldwide and Strawberry Shortcake
2018Halifax Film becomes Island of Misfits
2019DHX Media rebrands as WildBrain, Epitome Pictures closes, and the WildBrain MCN becomes WildBrain Spark
2020CPLG becomes WildBrain CPLG
2021Echo Bridge Home Entertainment closes
2023WildBrain acquires House of Cool
2024WildBrain Spark merged into its parent company as WildBrain London

WildBrain Ltd. is a Canadian media, animation studio, production, and brand licensing company, mostly associated as an entertainment company. The company is known for owning the largest independent library of children's television programming,[6] including the assets of acquisitions such as Cookie Jar Group, Epitome Pictures, and Wildbrain Entertainment among others, distribution rights to the Jay Ward Productions library, and a stake in the Peanuts franchise.

The company was founded in 2006 as DHX Media, via a merger between Decode Entertainment and the Halifax Film Company. The company subsequently acquired other studios and assets, acquired the Canadian specialty service Family Channel in 2014 to expand into broadcasting, and established the YouTube multi-channel network WildBrain (now WildBrain Spark) in 2016. Building upon the strength of the division, the entirety of the company was rebranded as WildBrain in 2019.


As DHX Media

DHX Media logo used from 2010 to 2019

In May 2006, the Toronto-based Decode Entertainment merged with the Halifax-based Halifax Film Company as DHX Media, which went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) and the London Alternative Investment Market (AIM). Decode's Neil Court stated that becoming a public company would allow it to raise capital for new ventures, and stated that they planned to pursue the establishment of a licensing division for consumer products.[7][8] A reverse merger deal with Entertainment One was considered in 2008, but was dropped.[9] On March 25, 2008, DHX Media acquired Bulldog Interactive Fitness.[10] The name, "DHX" drives from the combination of the names Decode and Halifax.

After the merger, Decode, Halifax Film, and Studio B Productions initially maintained their respective brands.[8] On September 8, 2010, the company announced that all of its subsidiaries would be brought under the DHX Media branding.[11][12] On September 14, 2010, DHX Media acquired the American animation studio Wildbrain Entertainment.[13]

On August 20, 2012, it was announced that DHX Media would acquire Cookie Jar Group for CA $111 million, a deal which would make DHX the world's largest independent owner of children's television programming.[14][15] The acquisition was completed on October 22, 2012.[6]

In May 2013, DHX introduced three premium, subscription-based channels on YouTube; DHX Junior, DHX Kids, and DHX Retro. DHX's then executive chairman Michael Hirsh stated that the offerings were meant to leverage the company's library and the growth of digital distribution in the children's television market. DHX was among the first 30 content partners for YouTube's premium channel platform.[16][17]

On September 16, 2013, DHX acquired Ragdoll Worldwide—a joint venture between British production company Ragdoll Productions, and BBC Worldwide that managed and licensed Ragdoll Productions properties (such as Teletubbies and In the Night Garden) outside the United Kingdom—for US$27.7 million.[18][19]

Expansion into broadcasting, subsequent partnerships

On November 28, 2013, DHX announced that it would acquire four children's specialty television channels from the former Astral Media for CA$170 million, consisting of Family Channel, Disney Junior (English), Disney Junior (French), and Disney XD. The networks were being sold as a condition of Bell Media's 2013 acquisition of Astral Media; its purchase of the networks marked DHX's first foray into television broadcasting.[20][21] The deal was approved by the CRTC on July 24, 2014, and closed on July 31, 2014.[22] The channels were incorporated into a new unit, DHX Television.[23]

In early 2014, DHX Media acquired Epitome Pictures, the company that produced the post-2001 entries of the Degrassi franchise, but Epitome did not own international distribution rights. In November, DHX purchased 117 children's and family titles from US distributor Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. The acquisition comprised about 1,200 half-hours including the international distribution rights to Degrassi, as well as Instant Star and The L.A. Complex (two other Epitome productions), as well as distribution rights to an additional 34 series. Other shows in the purchase included Lunar Jim, Beast Wars: Transformers and Cookie Jar's Emily of New Moon.[24] Nerd Corps Entertainment, a computer animation studio founded by former Mainframe Entertainment producers Asaph Fipke and Chuck Johnson, also the makers of Slugterra, was acquired by DHX Media on December 24.[25]

In April 2015, Corus Entertainment announced that it had acquired Canadian rights to the program library of Disney Channel and its associated brands as part of a deal with the Disney–ABC Television Group; DHX's existing deal with Disney, which covered programming across the four DHX Television services, ended in January 2016. DHX's Disney-branded channels were re-branded as Family Jr. and Télémagino[26][27][28] in September 2015.

In August 2015, DHX reached an output deal with AwesomenessTV; the deal includes rights to its programming for Family Channel, along with plans to co-develop new, original content for DHX to distribute and merchandise internationally.[26][29] In December 2015, DHX reached an output deal with DreamWorks Animation, which included Canadian rights to its original animated television series, and a pact to co-produce 130 episodes of animated programming for the Family networks, with DHX handling Canadian distribution and DreamWorks handling international distribution.[30] Also that month, DHX established a development deal with Mattel to co-develop and handle global sales for content in the Little People and Polly Pocket franchises, as well as HiT Entertainment properties owned by them such as the Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam franchises, including television and digital video programming.[31]

In April 2016, DHX Media announced the formation of a new London-based multi-channel network under the WildBrain name.[32] On September 21, 2016, DHX cut a deal with Air Bud Entertainment (founded by Robert Vince) distribute the Air Bud library of 15 films, including the newest Air Bud production Pup Star.[33]

Peanuts acquisition, reorganizations

On May 10, 2017, DHX announced that it had acquired the entertainment division of Iconix Brand Group for US$345 million. The purchase gave DHX full ownership to the Strawberry Shortcake franchise and, more prominently, an 80% majority stake in Peanuts Worldwide.[34]

On October 2, 2017, the company announced that it was evaluating strategic alternatives, including a potential sale, following a review of its finances. DHX's debt had increased following the Iconix acquisition, and the company reported a net loss of CA$18.3 million during its fiscal fourth quarter.[35]

On May 14, 2018, DHX announced that it would sell a 39% stake (approximately 49% of its total ownership) in Peanuts Worldwide to its Japanese licensee Sony Music Entertainment Japan for US$185 million. The sale would be used to help cover DHX's debt.[36][37]

On September 24, 2018, DHX announced that it had concluded its strategic review and decided against selling the company, and that it planned to prioritize investments into digital content (including short-form digital content for WildBrain, and premium long-form content for subscription streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix), to reflect changes in viewing habits. On the same day, the company also reported a revenue of CA $434.4 million for its fiscal 2018 (up from CA $298.7 million in its fiscal 2017).[38] In November 2018, DHX announced the sale of its Halifax animation studio to IoM Media Ventures, a new company led by former DHX CEO Dana Landry. The Halifax animation studio had been operating on a loss. The sale was completed on December 21, 2018.[39][40][41]

In February 2019, the company announced plans to consolidate its operations into two internal subsidiaries for "improved focus and strategic flexibility", focused on studios and networks, and global content assets (including digital) respectively. During its investors' call, then CEO Michael Donovan stated that the company had slightly downsized its slate of productions to "focus on the shows we think have the greatest potential, particularly with respect to consumer products".[41]

As WildBrain

In August 2019, former Marvel Entertainment CEO and founder of Classic Media (now DreamWorks Classics) Eric Ellenbogen was named the new CEO of DHX Media.[42] On September 23, 2019, the company announced that it had changed its name to WildBrain, building upon its multi-channel network of the same name (which was subsequently renamed to "WildBrain Spark"). Company president Josh Scherba explained that the name was "synonymous with creativity, imagination and innovation", and symbolized the company's efforts to achieve stronger collaboration and integration between its businesses. DHX shareholders officially approved the change in corporate name to WildBrain Ltd. during its annual shareholder meeting in December.[43][44]

On February 3, 2022, WildBrain acquired distribution, production, and licensing rights to the Jay Ward Productions portfolio; both companies will create new content based on the portfolio. The deal excluded co-productions from the Bullwinkle Studios venture that was operated by DreamWorks Classics before the new deal was made.[45] That November, the studio made a production deal with How to Train Your Dragon producer Bonnie Arnold, through which she would produce television and film content for the studio. The first projects following the deal are set to be adaptations of Cressida Crowell's Which Way to Anywhere novel and Emily Broen series.[46]

Josh Scherba became president and CEO of the company in 2023.[47] WildBrain announced its intent to acquire Toronto-based animation studio House of Cool for CA$18.3 million on March 29, 2023.[48] The acquisition was completed in July 2023. As part of the deal, House of Cool co-founders Wes Lui and Ricardo Curtis joined WildBrain as co-general managers of the studio.[49] On November 27, 2023, New Metric Media purchased back the distribution rights to their productions from WildBrain, including Letterkenny.[50]


See also


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  9. ^ Vlessing, Etan (2010-09-14). "DHX buys Wildbrain for $8 million". The Hollywood Reporter. AP. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
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