Thursday 21 November 2019

Brown Bag films acquired by 9 Story Media Group

Doc McStuffins: Time for your Check Up, iPhone/iPad/Android, €1.79.
Doc McStuffins: Time for your Check Up, iPhone/iPad/Android, €1.79.
The Oscar nominated 'Give Up Yer Aul Sins' (above left) brought Cathal Gaffney and Darragh O'Connell's Brown Bag Films worldwide attention. Above, Cathal pictured yesterday near their Smithfield office in Dublin.

Ailish O'Hora and Colm Kelpie

AWARD-winning animation studio Brown Bag Films has been bought by 9 Story Media Group.

Following the acquisition, company founders Darragh O'Connell and Cathal Gaffney and senior management will remain on to head up the creator of Disney's Doc McStuffins, the company said today.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Brown Bag, the company behind the hit productions, Give Up Yer Aul Sins, Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, Octonauts and Henry Hugglemonster, will create 50 new jobs “in the near future” as it targets new markets.

Based in Dublin, Brown Bags employs 170 full-time staff in Dublin and the company also has a base in LA as well as a studio in Manchester.

The 9 Story Media Group is owned by media entrepreneur Neil Court, Zelnick Media, 9 Story Media Group management and

Brown Bag Films management.

“I am truly excited about this opportunity that we have worked so hard on and I look forward to continuing to produce the best animated content for children across the globe with 9 Story long into the future,” Mr Gaffney said.

“Over the past 21 years, Brown Bag Films has constantly evolved its business model, always keeping quality at the forefront of everything we do.

“This new chapter is the next logical step for us in our ongoing evolution and will ensure that audiences around the world get to watch more of the great shows they have come to expect from Brown Bag Films.”

Brown Bag said the decision was taken to press ahead with the deal after Mr Gaffney and fellow co founder Darragh O’Connell, explored a range of options to take the company to the next level.

Vince Commisso, 9 Story Media Group chief executive, said they were thrilled to be joining forces with Brown Bag Films.

“Cathal, Darragh and their team in Ireland have a well established track record and an outstanding reputation for producing high quality animation,” Mr Commisso said.

“This transformative transaction, which extends our footprint into Europe, broadens our content offering to distribution partners and audiences worldwide, combines best in class CGI and 2D, and optimally positions the company for tremendous growth.”

Recent figures lodged with the Companies Office show that the Brown Bag Films owned-Nostrum Productions recorded revenues of €3.1m in the year to the end of June 10 this year. This followed revenues of €7.3m between 2012 and to the end of June 10, 2014.

Brown Bag is now producing the fourth series of 'Doc McStuffins', pictured, a show that's aired around the world and has been a major factor in the expansion of the firm over the past number of years.

Already this year, Brown Bag Films won Outstanding Children's Programme for 'Doc McStuffins' at the 46th National Association for Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) Awards.

The Nostrum accounts confirms that the show has been able to avail of State Section 481 tax incentives aimed at delivering more jobs in the film industry.

The Dublin-based creators of Henry Hugglemonster continued to expand this year after securing a major deal with Amazon Prime resulting in the creation of 40 more jobs at the firm.

This followed Amazon Prime green-lighting Brown Bag Films' 'The Stinky and Dirty Show' and production on the show began in March.

The deal follows quickly on from the Dublin firm opening a 2D animation studio in Manchester last November that involved an investment of €1m by the firm.

Underlining its expansion, the Brown Bag Film recently said it was recruiting for 19 different roles at its Dublin studios and 12 at its Manchester studios.

The firm's most recent accounts show that it recorded profits of €1.63m in 2013 on revenues of €18.35m. Accumulated profits stood at €5.22m.

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