9 Story to buy Breakthrough’s kids and family slate

The acquisition expands 9 Story's distribution library to more than 3,500 half-hours, and adds to its live-action offerings with titles including the Anne of Green Gables movie series.

9 Story Media has inked a deal to acquire Breakthrough Entertainment’s entire kids and family library.

The transaction will see 9 Story pick up 757 half-hours of kids and family content (both animated and live-action), in addition to taking over Breakthrough’s current slate of in-development projects.

Through the deal, 9 Story has also acquired the right to produce Breakthrough’s in-development properties. Breakthrough has agreed to a three-year non-compete in the kids and family space but will complete production on its current kids and family slate, according to a press release announcing the deal. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close within the next 30 days.

“The acquisition adds significant depth and breadth to our distribution library, expands our development slate and production opportunities, and solidifies our position as one of the industry’s top suppliers for kids and family content internationally,” said 9 Story president and CEO Vince Commisso in a statement. “In particular, the deal increases 9 Story’s live-action offering with top titles like Anne of Green GablesBruno & Boots and Max and Shred.”

In addition to those three live-action properties, Breakthrough’s kids and family catalogue includes the animated properties Rocket MonkeysJimmy Two ShoesCaptain Flamingo and Wandering Wenda, based on Margaret Atwood’s children’s book.

“Breakthrough is honoured to have our award-winning kids content, produced over the last 33 years, become part of 9 Story’s high quality kids and family library,” said Ira Levy, co-founder and president of Breakthrough Entertainment in a statement. “9 Story’s excellence in kids media is the perfect fit to continue the legacy of Breakthrough’s kids and family catalogue both domestically and in the international market.”

News of the transaction comes 10 months after Joan Lambur, who previously served as Breakthrough’s EVP of family entertainment, left the company in order to launch her own prodco, Lambur Productions.

With the deal, 9 Story’s expands its distribution library to more than 3,500 half-hours of content, and continues its acquisition streak.

In January, the Toronto-based company announced it was to acquire New York-based children’s media company Out of the Blue (Super WHY, Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood). Last month, Angela C. Santomero, who was a co-founder of Out of the Blue, was appointed to the newly created post of COO at 9 Story Media Group.

In addition to its expansion into the U.S., 9 Story has also made moves into the European market in recent years. In 2015, it acquired the Irish animation studio Brown Bag in 2015 and later rebranded its Toronto studio under the Brown Bag banner.