In 2006, the Toronto-based Decode Entertainment and Halifax-based Halifax Film Company merged so that the newly merged company would be named the Decode-Halifax Film Company. The newly public company known as DHX Media, began trading in 2006, because the name, "DHX", is an acronym for the combination of the names Decode and Halifax.
A reverse merger deal with Entertainment One was considered in 2008, but was dropped. On March 25, 2008, DHX Media acquired Bulldog Interactive Fitness. On September 8, 2010, all related subsidiaries and divisions were rebranded under the label DHX Media. On September 14, 2010, DHX Media acquired the original WildBrain Entertainment.
On August 20, 2012, it was announced that DHX Media would acquire Cookie Jar Group for CA $111 million, a deal which would make DHX the world's largest independent owner of children's television programming. The acquisition was completed on October 22, 2012.
In May 2013, DHX introduced three premium, subscription-based channels on YouTube; DHX Junior, DHX Kids, and DHX Retro. DHX's then executive chairman Michael Hirsh stated that the offerings were meant to leverage the company's library and the growth of digital distribution in the children's television market. DHX was among the first 30 content partners for YouTube's premium channel platform.
Expansion into broadcasting, subsequent partnerships
On November 28, 2013, DHX announced that it would acquire four children's specialty television channels from the former Astral Media for CA$170 million, consisting of Family Channel, Disney Junior (English), Disney Junior (French), and Disney XD. The networks were being sold as a condition of Bell Media's 2013 acquisition of the remainder of Astral Media's assets; its purchase of the networks marked DHX's first foray into television broadcasting. The deal was approved by the CRTC on July 24, 2014, and closed on July 31, 2014. The channels were incorporated into a new unit, DHX Television.
In August 2015, DHX reached an output deal with AwesomenessTV; the deal includes rights to its programming for Family Channel, along with plans to co-develop new, original content for DHX to distribute and merchandise internationally. In December 2015, DHX reached an output deal with DreamWorks Animation, which included Canadian rights to its original animated television series, and a pact to co-produce 130 episodes of animated programming for the Family networks, with DHX handling Canadian distribution and DreamWorks handling international distribution. Also that month, DHX established a development deal with Mattel to co-develop and handle global sales for content in the Little People and Polly Pocket franchises, as well as HiT Entertainment properties owned by them such as the Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam franchises, including television and digital video programming.
On October 2, 2017, the company announced that it was evaluating strategic alternatives, including a potential sale, following a review of its finances. DHX's debt had increased following the Iconix acquisition, and the company reported a net loss of CA$18.3 million during its fiscal fourth quarter. On May 14, 2018, DHX announced that it would sell a 39% stake (approximately 49% of its total ownership) in Peanuts Worldwide to its Japanese licensee Sony Music Entertainment Japan for US$185 million. The sale would be used to help cover DHX's debt.
On September 24, 2018, DHX announced that it had concluded its strategic review and decided against selling the company, and that it planned to prioritize investments into digital content (including short-form digital content for WildBrain, and premium long-form content intended for platforms such as Amazon Video and Netflix), rather than television, to reflect changes in viewing habits. On the same day, the company also reported a revenue of CA $434.4 million for its fiscal 2018 (up from CA $298.7 million in its fiscal 2017). In November 2018, DHX announced the sale of its Halifax animation studio to IoM Media Ventures, a new company led by former DHX CEO Dana Landry. The Halifax animation studio had been operating on a loss. The sale was completed on December 21, 2018.
In February 2019, the company announced plans to consolidate its operations into two internal subsidiaries for "improved focus and strategic flexibility", focused on studios and networks, and digital respectively. During its investors' call, then CEO Michael Donovan stated that the company had slightly downsized its slate of productions to "focus on the shows we think have the greatest potential, particularly with respect to consumer products".
In August 2019, former Marvel Entertainment CEO and founder of Classic Media (now DreamWorks Classics) Eric Ellenbogen was named the new CEO of DHX Media. On September 23, 2019, DHX Media announced a reorganization, including CFO Doug Lamb stepping down and being replaced by existing COO Aaron Ames, and the addition of a new "brand director" position. In addition, DHX began trading as "WildBrain", building upon its multi-channel network of the same name (which was subsequently renamed to "WildBrain Spark"). Company president Josh Scherba explained that the name was "synonymous with creativity, imagination and innovation", and symbolized the company's efforts to achieve stronger collaboration and integration between its businesses. DHX shareholders officially approved the change in corporate name during its annual shareholder meeting in December.
WildBrain CPLG (formerly Copyright Promotions Licensing Group), a third-party entertainment, sport and brand licensing agency headquartered in London, United Kingdom, which became a subsidiary to WildBrain in the process of the acquisition of Cookie Jar Entertainment.
WildBrain Distribution: WildBrain distributes television shows and specials within their library to various media platforms, territory-by-territory. The company maintains distribution offices in Toronto, Beijing, Los Angeles, New York, London, and Paris, and a support team in Toronto.
WildBrain Spark is a multi-channel network based in London, England, that programs digital children's content on services such as YouTube. Such content includes those relating to WildBrain Ltd's own properties, as well as edutainment and toys. It was formerly known as simply "WildBrain" until DHX adopted the name company-wide, after which it adopted its current name in 2019. The division has also entered into partnerships with other parties to manage their digital properties. The WildBrain Spark channel is among the largest children's channels on YouTube, and accounted for $70 million of WildBrain's revenue in 2019.