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‘Perfect storm’ of problems forces Brand New Media into administration and out of TV4ME

brand new mediaOne of Australia’s biggest branded content production houses Brand New Media has called in administrators after being hit by what it has described as a “perfect storm” of issues across its business interests.

The company, founded in 2001 by CEO Perry Smith was responsible for branded TV shows for some of Australia’s biggest brands and had been a joint-venture partner on TV channels TV4ME and HealthyMETV with Network Seven and Prime.

However Mumbrella understands the contracts for those channels were terminated at midnight last night after the company called in administrators Dean-Willcocks Advisory, with six staff made redundant.

Managing director David Borean told Mumbrella that while the company had a number of successful ventures it had been dragged down by a “couple of the lesser performing parts of the business”.

"Perfect storm": BNM MD David Borean

“Perfect storm”: BNM MD David Borean

Borean told Mumbrella “all assets at this point are under review” and that they were exploring a “number of possible options for all staff” which includes selling off parts of the business, but said its future was now “in the hands of the administrators”.

Operations in Melbourne, Brisbane and Singapore are not affected by the administration, he added.

The company began data channel TV4ME with Seven and regional broadcaster Prime in 2011, broadcasting advertorial content for advertisers.

HealthyMeTV began as Network Seven’s first foray into HBBTV broadcasting in January 2014 with hosts including George Gregan and Shelly Horton.

A statement from Network Seven said it would “announce plans for the channels currently on air in the near future,” adding: “Brand New Media has been a good partner and we are disappointed to hear this latest news.”

Borean moved into the managing director role in October 2015 from entertainment marketing specialists Waterfront Entertainment, in which BNM took a stake in 2014.

His partner in Waterfront, Sean Pickwell, told Mumbrella this morning it was “business as usual” for the agency, noting BNM was only an investor in the agency.

The company last registered accounts with ASIC in 2014, showing it had revenues of more than $32m across the group for the 2013/14 financial year, with a profit of $2.83m.

Furman

Highpoint Capital MD: Furman

In late 2013 the company raised around $13m with an investment from private equity firm Highpoint Capital whose managing director for investments, Steven Furman, said in a press release at the time: “There are some very exciting growth opportunities that lie ahead for BNM, both in Australia and Asia, with their fast-growing Singapore office. We look forward to working with Perry and his team in capitalising on these opportunities, as the business enters its next phase of growth.”

In that same release it claimed the company employed around 80 people globally.

Calls to Highpoint Capital went unanswered this morning, but Borean confirmed they are still a shareholder in the business.

In 2014 the company invested in entertainment marketing specialists Waterfront Entertainment, with Waterfront managing partner David Borean transferring over to become managing director of Brand New Media in November 2015.

His partner in Waterfront Sean Pickwell told Mumbrella this morning it was “business as usual” for the agency, noting BNM was only an investor in it.

In March Singapore Press Holdings, which publishes the Straits Times, bought a 33% in the company’s Singaporean operations for $6.6m.

A meeting of creditors for the company will be held on May 9 in Sydney.

Alex Hayes

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