On November 22, 2022, California-based media services provider Blu Digital Group announced that it had acquired Haymillian, a dubbing, subtitling, and access services provider headquartered in the UK. The purchase price was not disclosed.
CEO of Blu Digital Group, Paulette Pantoja, told Slator the deal closed on November 18. Blu, which mainly services large US studios, picked up dubbing facilities in Mexico and operations hubs in the UK and Greece in the acquisition.
Haymillian, founded in 2007 in London, focuses on dubbing, subtitling, and access services, and was a vendor to Blu prior to the deal. “It became obvious that the two companies shared the same essential values,” said Pantoja, “so the relationship progressed from there.”
Blu licenses cloud-based media software as well as offering media production and distribution services. The company started to expand its localization capabilities in March 2022 with the appointment of Silviu Epure as VP of Content Globalization before going on to acquire US-based dubbing and audio facility, Central Post LA in May.
Haymillian will be gradually integrated into Blu’s ecosystem and, while the two companies share a handful of clients, the “two [client] portfolios are mostly complementary,” Pantoja said.
Latin America’s Appetite for Content
Blu’s acquisition of Haymillian will increase Blu’s localization capacity and access to linguistic and dubbing talent in multiple regions, according to the company’s press release.
The deal strengthens Blu’s existing Latin American presence in particular. “Latin America has always been a key focus for Blu,” Pantoja told Slator. “We have witnessed first hand the extraordinary rise of content distribution to and from Latin America to the world.”
According to the CEO, the region is seeing “a consistent appetite for foreign scripted drama, especially US, Turkish, and Korean.”
Uptick in Audio Description
The acquisition also augments Blu’s access services capabilities. Commenting on the access services landscape, Pantoja noted that 2022 had seen “a sharp increase in audio description.”
The CEO added, “Considering the technological advances that the industry is heavily exploring in this space, we do expect to grow exponentially in 2023.”
Nevertheless, closed captioning remains the dominant service with respect to overall demand. “In terms of volume, closed caption creation remains king within the accessibility landscape,” Pantoja told Slator.
On Blu’s M&A strategy moving forward, Pantoja indicated that further acquisitions may be on the horizon. Characteristics of attractive targets include “technological innovation, high quality output, and consistent top-notch client experience,” she said.
“Blu will continue its rapid global expansion seeking out like-minded proponents of these essential three elements in all key regions,” according to Pantoja.