Nova Scotia

DHX Media changing name to WildBrain, begins reorganizing company

DHX Media Ltd. is changing its corporate name to WildBrain, the name of its child-focused YouTube business, which will be renamed WildBrain Spark.

'It has barely begun to exploit the value of its entertainment assets'

The Peanuts gang is just one of the properties partially owned by DHX, now known as Wildbrain. (DHX Media/Peanuts Worldwide LLC)

DHX Media Ltd. is changing its corporate name to WildBrain, the name of its child-focused YouTube business, which will be renamed WildBrain Spark.

"WildBrain Spark now averages more than three billion views per month," new DHX chief executive Eric Ellenbogen said Monday in his inaugural financial report to analysts.

The former president and chief executive of Marvel Enterprises also announced there will be a reorganization of the business to have a more simplified structure as it works to grow its audience while managing a large corporate debt.

Ellenbogen, who was named chief executive at DHX last month, said that it's not news that the company has faced "some considerable challenges" in recent years, but the changes Monday and others ahead will "set the stage for a path forward."

"We continue to improve our financial position by generating positive operating cash flow in fiscal 2019 and paying down debt," Ellenbogen said.

However, Ellenbogen said repeatedly that he would be focused on long-term, sustainable growth for the company rather than quarter-to-quarter improvements.

He said that DHX has well-run business units, including WildBrain, a content creation business, and specialty television channels in Canada, but has yet to integrate them effectively.

"It has barely begun to exploit the value of its entertainment assets," Ellenbogen said.

Vancouver-made My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is also owned by Wildbrain. (DHX Media)

The proliferation of new streaming services also present DHX with many new opportunities, including its deal to create Peanuts programs for Apple's streaming service.

"And to ensure we are poised to take advantage, we're planning to increase our spend against creative development," Ellenbogen said.

Some of the money for that increased spending, he said, will come from savings resulting from the business and management reorganization.

Chief operating officer Aaron Ames was appointed as chief financial officer to replace Doug Lamb, who has decided to step down but remain as an adviser to the Halifax-based company until the end of October.

DHX reported a fourth-quarter loss attributable to the company of $62.8 million or 47 cents per share on $108.8 million in revenue for the three months ended June 30.

The result compared with a loss of $21.6 million or 16 cents per share on $97.4 million in last year's fiscal fourth quarter.

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