Keywords Studios PLC – Acquisition

Keywords Studios PLC – Acquisition

Keywords Studios, the international technical services provider to the global video games industry, today announces that it has acquired the entire equity share capital of Descriptive Video Works Inc (“DVW”) from its founder, Diane Johnson, a highly respected executive in the broadcasting industry in North America.    

Founded in 2003 and based in Vancouver, Canada, Descriptive Video Works’ highly specialized and skilled team provides audio description services for broadcast and over the top (OTT) streamed programming, feature films, documentaries and live action series as well as live coverage of prime time events such as the Summer and Winter Olympics for NBC.

Audio description is narrated, voice based descriptions of what is appearing on screen and is primarily for the benefit of visually impaired audiences. Audio description is increasingly being mandated by law in a growing number of countries. DVW works primarily with broadcasters and streaming media providers in Canada and the US such as NBC Universal, CBS, CBC, Viacom and A&E Networks and is an approved Netflix Post-Production Partner (NP3) for English Audio Description Services. 

In the year to 30 November 2018, DVW generated adjusted profit before tax of CAD 0.66m on revenues of CAD 2.2m. The total consideration for the acquisition is CAD 3.2m, of which CAD 2.24m is being paid in cash on completion and the rest through the issue of 35,560 new ordinary shares in Keywords. The consideration shares will be issued to the Seller on the first anniversary of the acquisition and will then be subject to orderly market provisions for a further 12 months. 

Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios commented:

“In 2018, Keywords and Descriptive Video Works collaborated on a transcreation project in which a major video game franchise was made ready for OTT streaming in an interactive format and we were really impressed by both the team’s capabilities and how well we worked together.  

“We are delighted to welcome Diane and the talented DVW team to the Keywords family. We are looking forward to supporting the accessibility needs of the film, TV and video-games industry as these markets continue to develop.  Our voice over studios around the world will be looking at ways in which they can work with Diane and her team to bring audio description production to European, South American and Asian markets. 

“The acquisition of DVW also provides Keywords with its first studio in Vancouver, British Columbia, a city with very active involvement in film, television and video games and we hope to grow our presence there accordingly.”  

Diane Johnson, CEO of Descriptive Video Works commented:

I’m very pleased to join the Keywords Studios family, and I truly hope that by joining forces with Keywords and taking advantage of their international reach and market leading position, we’ll be able to offer accessible solutions for the blind and visual impaired audience to a much broader client base.”

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