12 June 2019
Keywords Studios plc ("Keywords", "the Group")
Acquisition of Descriptive Video Works Inc
Extending services to accessibility solutions for the Media & Entertainment and Video-Games industries
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 (the "Seller"), 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."
For further information, please contact:
Keywords Studios (www.keywordsstudios.com)
Andrew Day, Chief Executive Officer
David Broderick, Chief Financial Officer
Giacomo Duranti, Chief Operating Officer
+353 190 22 730
Numis (Financial Adviser)
Stuart Skinner / Kevin Cruickshank (Nominated Adviser)
James Black / Tom Ballard (Corporate Broker)
020 7260 1000
MHP Communications (Financial PR)
Katie Hunt / Ollie Hoare
020 3128 8100
About Keywords Studios (www.keywordsstudios.com)
Keywords Studios is an international technical services provider to the global video games industry. Established in 1998, and now with over 50 facilities in 21 countries strategically located in Asia, the Americas and Europe, it provides integrated art creation, software engineering, testing, localisation, audio and customer care services across more than 50 languages and 16 games platforms to a blue-chip client base of approximately 850 clients across the globe.
It has a strong market position, providing services to 23 of the top 25 most prominent games companies, including Activision Blizzard, Bandai Namco, Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Konami, Riot Games, Sony, Square Enix, Supercell, TakeTwo, Epic Games and Ubisoft. Recent titles worked on include Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Call of Duty: WWII, Mortal Combat X, Assassin's Creed Origins, Battlefield 1, League of Legends, Fortnite, Clash Royale and Rainbow Six Siege. Keywords Studios is listed on AIM, the London Stock Exchange regulated market (KWS.L).
About Descriptive Video Works (www.descriptivevideoworks.com)
Founded in Vancouver BC in 2003 by Diane Johnson, Descriptive Video Works (DVW) is committed to empowering people who are blind and partially sighted by providing access to all forms of visual media through video description.
DVW has produced English audio description for tens of thousands of hours of great programming and earned a stellar pedigree as a reference and leading expert in Audio Description Services. This has included live transmissions for leading broadcasters, as well as content for streaming platforms, independent content distributors and producers.
DVW produced audio description for leading programmes such as Downton Abbey, Dragon's Den, Master Chef Canada, Seinfeld, Versailles, and Anne with an E, as well as producing live audio description of the Olympics and Paralympics for NBC and CBC.