With new private financing in place, a Toronto-based children’s program producer and an award-winning multimedia company have joined forces to create a hot shop of kids edutainment products.
Gord Haines, a former executive at Alliance Communications, has taken controlling interest in both Owl Communications and Mackerel Interactive Multimedia through his company, Combined Media.
Owl Communications is a 20-year-old two-tiered company made up of a television production arm, Owl Television, and a book and magazine publishing arm, which produces children’s magazines Owl and Chickadee.
Mackerel is a multimedia pioneer that has won national and international awards for its interactive products including Mackerel Stack and Birdsong.
With the working capital provided by Combined, which now owns 90 percent of Owl and 50 percent of Mackerel, the companies intend to blanket every element of the kids entertainment and educational products industries, maximizing Owl’s production and publishing divisions and utilizing Mackerel’s expertise in designing computer software.
While CD-ROMs, Internet sites and new magazines playing off Owl-created TV characters are on the agenda, so is an expanded TV production slate for Owl, which is extending its focus into high-budget family programs and expects to double its number of production hours to 40 in the next fiscal year.