On the heels of last fall’s internal promotions and new appointments across its production and distribution teams, French prodco Cyber Group Studios has acquired Paris–based producer Piktor Media and plans to establish a base in Shanghai to further its worldwide growth.
Founded by Gilbert Huus, Piktor Media specializes in 2D animation and has produced a number of kids series including Petz Club and Loulou de Montmartre for France Télévisions. Both series have sold well internationally, including into Canada, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Scandinavia.
With six animated series currently slated for production in 2016, including season three of Zou, Mirette Investigates, Pirates Next Door and Brown Bag co-pro Gilbert and Allie, plus 10 series in development, Cyber Group CEO Pierre Sissmann says the company’s fast growth over the last two years meant it was time to explore new opportunities.
“About a year ago, we decided to look at acquisitions that could help grow the company and our distribution catalog, yet still improve our expertise in creating groundbreaking animation, TV series and technology,” says Sissmann.
“Piktor is very well known for producing series that have sold all over the world and they specialize in pure 2D animation. Organically, we’ve developed a lot of tools—Zorro and Gigantosaurus are both CGI, we have mixed 2D/3D series—but we never offered pure 2D, which is why we purchased the company.”
He adds that Cyber Group is currently in discussions to acquire two additional international producers this year, and is planning to make several acquisitions over the next two years.
“If this happens, we would more than double our size in 2016 alone. It would also position us very strongly in markets where we don’t have a base. We’re looking at getting a foothold in additional territories that aren’t necessarily French,” says Sissmann.
One big area of interest is Asia, and Sissmann says the studio is already looking to establish a base in Shanghai. “We want to get closer to the Asian market both in terms of local production and distribution. In fact, we just signed a big deal for Zou across mainland China,” he says.
Another sector for new investment for the company is digital technology, but Sissmann says he can’t officially announce anything at the moment.
“After looking at the number of our series that cost between five and 12 million Euros, we’re looking to secure more resources for what we want to do artistically,” he says. “With all the platform changes and the globalization of IPs, it’s important that we increase our critical mass, but the key strategy is to still produce series.”
Among the company’s current development projects are comedy-adventure series Enchanted Sisters, being co-produced with The Jim Henson Company; a second Henson co-pro entitled BouBouh! (pictured), based on the bestselling book of the same name by Ingrid Chabbert; musical series Rock Angels with School Boy Records; and educational series Gigantosaurus.
Cyber Group will present a trailer for BouBouh! for the first time at Kidscreen Summit in Miami next week.