Brown Bag Films operator sees profits rise 5% to €5.73m

Niagara Films Ireland Ltd news comes amid busy summer for animation studio

Ridley Jones is a Brown Bag production for Netflix

Ridley Jones is a Brown Bag production for Netflix

 

Operating profits at the business that operates multi-award-winning animation studio Brown Bag Films last year increased by 5 per cent to €5.73 million.

The increase in operating profits at Niagara Films Ireland Ltd followed revenues declining by 14 per cent to €42.92 million in the 12 months to the end of August last.

Founded in Dublin in 1994 by managing director Cathal Gaffney and creative director Darragh O’Connell, Brown Bag Films was acquired by Canada-based 9 Story Media Group in 2015.

In a strong indication of a very busy 2021, two Brown Bag Films productions have debuted on streaming services Netflix and Disney+ this summer.

Ridley Jones debuted on Netflix earlier this month; a sneak preview of the first episode recorded 3 million views in one week in June on Netflix Junior’s YouTube channel.

Another Brown Bag Films production, Sadie Sparks, debuted on Disney+ in June.

Studio closure

Brown Bag’s directors said they shut down its studio in Manchester last November and consolidated its 2D production in Toronto. The directors stated this would “allow the group to achieve long-term objectives with one 2D studio”.

They also stated that the Covid-19 pandemic “has not had a significant impact on the results of the group”.

Brown Bag’s other work includes global children’s TV hits Doc McStuffins and Henry Hugglemonster, Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood, Bing, Peg + Cat, Peter Rabbit, Wild Kratts, Olivia, Noddy in Toyland, The Magic School Bus Rides Again, and Octonauts.

The Niagara group last year recorded a 2 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to €5.56 million after paying interest charges of €171,147.

The business last year paid out dividends of €1.57 million, down from the €1.82 million payout in 2019.

Employee numbers reduced from 398 to 349, while staff costs reduced from €21.62 million to €17.86 million. Directors’ pay increased by 42 per cent to €756,174.

Shareholder funds at the end of August last year totalled €57.3 million, including accumulated profits of €17.69 million.