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Future acquires Barcroft for $30m

The Day the Dinosaurs Died

Magazine and online publisher Future plc has bought UK-based factual TV and digital content production company Barcroft Studios for £23.5m (US$30m).

Sam Barcroft

The deal for 100% of the company is made up through a combination of cash and shares.

CEO and company founder Sam Barcroft will continue to oversee day-to-day operations of the Barcroft Studios brand under Future plc’s ownership alongside chief operating officer Caspar Norman and chief creative officer Alex Morris.

Announcing the deal this morning, Barcroft Studios said it would accelerate the creation, production and distribution of its original series. Recent productions include Amazing Interiors for Netflix, The Day the Dinosaurs Died for BBC2 and Most Incredible Homes for Facebook Watch.

Barcroft Studios has pioneered a unique digital-to-TV incubation approach. To date, the company has established 15 original self-funded digital series, including Extreme Love, Born Different and Beastly, which have attracted more than 63 million followers across social video platforms including YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook. Many of these brands have subsequently been adapted as TV shows for broadcast networks and VoD platforms.

Zillah Byng-Thorne

The acquisition will also see Barcroft Studios developing and producing original TV programming and video content for Future’s portfolio of 180+ media brands. Future’s media portfolio includes TechRadar, PC Gamer, MusicRadar, Space.com, Android Central, Real Homes and Total Film.

Barcroft Studios was founded in 2003 as Barcroft Media by Sam Barcroft. The company expanded from providing exclusive stories and photography for print media brands to producing original factual video content for VoD platforms, TV networks and consumer brands. The company rebranded as Barcroft Studios in early 2019.

The sale process is expected to be completed by the end of November and comes three years after Channel 4 acquired a minority stake in Barcroft Media via its Indie Growth Fund. The broadcaster will exit from the business as a result.

Barcroft said: “Future’s stable of media brands is rapidly evolving across digital, e-commerce and events. Combining this with our expertise in the creation and distribution of amazing TV and video is an exciting proposition, enabling us to supersize our offering to broadcast, VOD and social media partners.

“We also can’t wait to collaborate with Future’s world class editorial teams, launching some of publishing’s most iconic media IP into TV and digital video.”

Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future plc, added: “Barcroft Studios are innovative TV and digital video producers who understand how to build communities at scale around content.

“With this acquisition we see a fantastic opportunity to further innovate across our diverse media portfolio. The opportunity to bring Barcroft Studios’ own IP, huge audiences and their team’s production expertise alongside our fantastic editorial content and brands, leveraging them into TV and video is an exciting step forward.”


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