DATSIT Sphere acquires BGM from Kew Media

The deal marks DATSIT Sphere's first foray into English-language factual production as BGM follows Frantic Films in the Canadian prodco exit from Kew.

MarloMiazgaDATSIT Sphère has acquired factual and kids producer BGM (formerly Bristow Global Media) in the latest departure from Kew Media Group.

The deal allows the Montreal-based prodco and distributor to expand into English-language factual content. President and CEO Marlo Miazga (pictured) will continue to lead Toronto-based BGM following the acquisition, with no changes to its senior management or production teams. Financial details were not disclosed.

“Our strategy for some time has been to create a completely diverse talented network of creatives,” said Bruno Dubé, president and CEO of DATSIT Sphère, in a statement. “This acquisition is a building block towards realizing our plans to create a global, sustainable, independent production group capable of producing quality entertainment across all genres and platforms.”

Miazga said DATSIT Sphère’s diverse content slate made it the “perfect home” for BGM’s “escalating ambitions,” which includes expanding its factual and kids divisions and increasing its reach in the international market.

DATSIT Sphère has made a number of M&A moves since the 2017 merger between DATSIT Studios and Sphère Media. It merged with studio Oasis Animation and unscripted prodco Quiet Motion in March 2019 and acquired Montreal prodco GO Films in 2018. Indie distributor WaZabi Films launched under DATSIT Sphère in July 2019.

BGM was founded in 2013 by Julie Bristow. It has a core staff of 7 employees, with a network of 100 production staff. Bristow departed as president and CEO in November 2019, with then-VP of content Miazga taking the reins. Kew Media Group acquired BGM in 2017, along with five other Canadian companies, including Frantic Films. The latter company has already bought back its shares. BGM has produced factual series such as Hockey Wives, Haunted Hospitals and Paranormal 911, and the documentary titles The Story of Us and Cleared For Chaos 9/11. On the kids side, it produces Backyard Beats and It’s My Party.

BGM’s former parent company Kew Media Group was placed in receivership in late February in accordance with an order from the Ontario Superior Court. All of its directors resigned. Its prodcos, including BGM, Architect Films and Media Headquarters, were not subject to the insolvency proceedings.

Kew Media first reported financial difficulties in November 2019 in its Q3 report, showing a 5.3% revenue dip from the previous year. In December, the company announced a strategic review to potentially sell a portion of its assets and stated previous reports to senior lenders “contained inaccurate information regarding working capital.” Lenders have since demanded repayment.

Other companies to leave the ranks of Kew Media include U.K. prodco Two Rivers, which bought out Kew’s stake in the company, and U.S. company Collins Avenue Entertainment.