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Boat Rocker buys Insight

Canada’s Boat Rocker Media has acquired a majority stake in local indie Insight Productions for an undisclosed sum.

John Brunton

The takeover gives Boat Rocker control of the prodco behind shows such as The Amazing Race Canada, Big Brother Canada and The Launch, while allowing Insight to increase and diversify its content offering and move more aggressively into digital content. Both firms are based in Toronto.

John Brunton, Insight’s founder, chairman and CEO, will continue to run all aspects of the company, which also produces Canadian music awards show The Juno Awards.

The entire Insight team will also remain in place, including the senior management and showrunners. Insight will operate as an independent business unit, with Boat Rocker providing capital investment in addition to business and strategic support.

As announced in March, Insight chief operating officer and president Barbara Bowlby will be retiring this year, but will remain a senior advisor to and shareholder in the company.

The deal marks the latest M&A move in a spending spree by Boat Rocker, which boosted its library of unscripted programming with the acquisition of the principal assets of Proper Television and Peace Point Entertainment last autumn.

The firm also bought two Canadian companies – Ottawa-based animation firm Jam Filled Entertainment and Toronto’s Radical Sheep – and made an investment in animation outfit Industrial Brothers, also based in Toronto.

In a joint statement, Boat Rocker CEO John Young and co-exec chairmen David Fortier and Ivan Schneeberg said: “John and Barb have built an incredible business over the last four decades and we are proud to become partners with such pillars of the Canadian production industry.

“We are equally excited to collaborate with some of the best showrunners and producers in Canada as Insight’s incredible team continues to raise the bar with domestic and international broadcasters alike.”

In a separate joint statement, Brunton and Bowlby added: “We’ve had the great pleasure of counting John, David and Ivan as friends and respected colleagues for many years, so we’re delighted to join forces with them and Boat Rocker.”

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