IYUNO Acquires German Dubbing Studio Scalamedia

Media localization provider IYUNO Acquires German Dubbing Studio Scalamedia - June 2020

On June 17, 2020, media localization provider IYUNO Media Group announced the acquisition of Germany-based dubbing and post-production studio Scalamedia. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

IYUNO was founded in 2002 by the company’s current Executive Chairman, David Lee. It has since grown to employ around 1,500 people and post annual revenues of USD 185m in 2019.

The company is backed by venture capital firm, SoftBank Ventures Asia, as well as Swedish private equity firms, Shamrock Capital and Altor. (The latter two came onboard through IYUNO’s merger with rival media localizer BTI Studios in 2019, the biggest-ever transaction in media localization).

Although less transformative, the Scalamedia acquisition is IYUNO’s first since merging with BTI and relocating company headquarters to London from Singapore.

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Scalamedia offers a range of media localization services, including subtitling and access services. But its main focus is dubbing, which remains the most popular choice for audiences watching foreign-language video content in Germany.

Slator contacted IYUNO CEO Shaun Gregory (also the former CEO of BTI Studios), who said that the Scalamedia transaction is “subject to competition clearance and is expected to close in Q3 [2020].”

IYUNO’s relationship with Scalamedia goes back a long way, Gregory told Slator, and “we have in the recent past been in discussions to join forces.” The two companies largely serve different customers and the goal of the acquisition is to expand IYUNO’s customer offering and access a larger talent pool in the German market.

According to Gregory, Germany is a particularly quality-driven market: “German dubbing is in high demand and highest quality and available capacity are key factors to provide our customer with the best service offering.”

Together with Scalamedia, IYUNO “will have a German team encompassing around 90 employees,” Gregory added. IYUNO already has a presence in Berlin through BTI’s acquisition of Berliner Synchron in 2018, while Scalamedia is based in Munich, with a studio facility in Berlin.

Gregory also told Slator that Scalamedia’s Managing Director, Anatol Holzach, and the executive team will be staying on with IYUNO once the acquisition has been completed. It is yet to be decided whether the brands will integrate or remain separate.

Customer Response to Coronavirus

Similar to UK-based rival ZOO Digital, IYUNO is seeing more demand for subtitling and dubbing of back-catalog content during the coronavirus lockdowns, Gregory confirmed — which helps offset a drop-off in localization work as new productions have been halted.

Overall, Gregory said, “IYUNO and our customers are responding very positively to the lockdowns.” For the customers’ part, they “are more open to doing things differently now, and people working from home will be the ‘new norm’ for most sectors going forward, not just localisation.”

Longer term, he said, “I think you’ll see a more ‘hybrid approach,’ with things like remote dubbing working hand in hand with ‘bricks and mortar.’” While Gregory does not think the traditional business model will be completely upended, it will “more likely evolve at a quicker pace with alternative solutions for things like business continuity and excess capacity,” he said.

As for IYUNO, Gregory said that, along with work-from-home arrangements, the company has recently launched a remote recording system called iDub. It is “a great example of IYUNO working with the wider industry,” Gregory believes, since iDub is aligned with the mission and objectives of the new Audio Business Continuity Alliance.

Moreover, Gregory added, “things are starting to ease up somewhat now, with most of our facilities back open for business.”

PwC acted as legal and financial adviser to IYUNO in the deal.