108 Media acquires majority stake in Singapore-based animation studio – Deadline
EXCLUSIVE: British production and distribution company 108 Media has acquired a majority stake in Singapore-based animation studio Robot Playground Media (RPM).
Co-founded and led by Ervin Han and Bernard Toh, RPM specializes in the development and production of IP animation for clients including Warner Bros., Disney Southeast Asia, Discovery, MediaCorp, StarHub and Viacom.
In 2019, Toh directed Mickey Go Locala short animated series commissioned by The Walt Disney Company marking the first original animated series produced by the studio in Southeast Asia.
Han directed and was the showrunner of Downstairs, which is now in its third season and has been acquired by Netflix. He also created Singapore’s first prime-time anime series. My Husband Heartland for Media Corp.
In 2021, the company won two awards at the Asian Academy Creative Awards – one for Downstairs (Best Animation Program) and the other for Spectrum (Grand Finals Winner (Best Short Content)).
The acquisition agreement was brokered by Abhi Rastogi (CEO – 108 Media), Justin Deimen (Chairman – 108 Media), 108 Media CFO Eamon Sullivan and financial analyst Andrew Gwilt, along with co-founders of RPM, Han and Toh.
RPM will work “in direct coordination” with 108 Media’s distribution and production teams led by CEO Abhi Rastogi and Chairman Justin Deimen, along with 108 Media’s (UK) Acquisitions Manager Rod Smith as well as Ryo Ebe, general manager of 108 Media (Japan), based in Tokyo.
The first phase of their integrated slate includes the pre-production title of RPM The violinist, a $3 million budget animated feature set in World War II Southeast Asia based on their short film; LA-Taiwan-Singapore co-production of 108 Media A banquet for hungry ghosts, an 8x30min adult horror animation; and a 6x30min series adapted from the graphic novel by Sonny Liew The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chyewhich is co-produced with Finding Pictures in Singapore.
This is the first of multiple acquisitions planned for 108 in Singapore this year, according to the company. The company also recently acquired UK company DCD Rights and a majority stake in Revolution Media.
“We have always had a strong belief in being able to share exciting and diverse stories from Asia-Pacific, particularly Southeast Asia, with the world, while showcasing the unique talents of the regional landscape of animation. In addition to injecting new growth capital to accelerate our scaling plans to pilot and co-produce larger and more strategic international projects, we also welcome a new global partner in 108 Media, who shares our passion and our ambition in realizing the importance for Asian anime stories across genres to be produced for global audiences,” Toh and Han said in a joint statement.
“We have been so impressed with the world-class quality and creativity showcased by Robot Playground, which has been supplying international and regional clients since its inception in 2013. They fit so well with the DNA and culture we are building at 108 Media with the artistic teams they have built, mentored and led.We are laying the groundwork for something truly special with the teams we are carefully building in our commercial and creative expansion into the markets as we move into production added London-based Abhi Rastogi.
“Having been huge fans of their work and having experienced their integrity and business acumen firsthand over the years I have known them, Ervin and Bernard are definitely among the most respected creative producers in their field. , and perfectly in sync with our ambition to scale internationally with the IPs we’ve acquired and cultivated Animation is a big part of our production and funding book going forward, and we wouldn’t have been able to find better captains with their own distinct verve to lead the fleet we are supporting them to build,” commented Justin Deimen, who is based in Singapore.