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Kidscreen Hot50 – Top Spots for 9 Story and Brown Bag Films

By December 14, 2021 No Comments

The 2021 Kidscreen Hot50 list has been announced and we are thrilled to share that 9 Story Media Group and Brown Bag Films have earned the TOP SPOT in Production! And to add to this blazing news, 9 Story has also placed second in Distribution, and snagged the number six spot in Digital Media!

Now in its eighth year, the Hot50 rankings are determined by an industry vote that Kidscreen’s 16,500-plus print and digital subscribers are invited to take part in. Seeing 9 Story and Brown Bag ranking among such high-caliber companies from around the world is a monumental affirmation of the brilliant work our talented teams have produced the past year. And to quote Cathal Gaffney (9 Story COO and Brown Bag Films’ Managing Director):

“To be voted into this shortlist by our respected industry peers is an epic endorsement of all the hard work that everyone’s put in.”


2021 has been a banner year for both 9 Story Media Group and our award-winning animation studio Brown Bag Films. Together, working out of our home offices and studios around the globe, we secured a record 18 greenlights, including series pickups for our CG-animated Karma’s World (Netflix) and our hybrid preschool show Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show (Apple TV+.)

We’ve also continued our commitment to inclusive storytelling, including highlights such as Brown Bag’s work on Chris Nee and the Obama’s Higher Ground production Ada Twist, Scientist premiering on Netflix in September; and Disney’s iconic Doc McStuffins, which our Dublin animation studio has been involved with since the show first aired in 2012, being honoured with 2 NAACP awards. Chris Nee’s new show Ridley Jones, also animated by Brown Bag Films, launched in the summer featuring the first non-binary character on a Netflix preschool series, and 9 Story’s co-pro with Fred Rogers Production Daniel Tiger Neighbourhood saw the introduction of Max, an autistic boy into the neighborhood.

Behind the scenes, our technology and production teams began building Brown Bag Films’ first 3D pipeline in our Toronto studio. And in regards to our post-pandemic return to studio plans, 9 Story and Brown Bag have invested in adaptive tech and are working to modify current workflows, so that both organizations can support and maintain a true hybrid return-to-work model post-pandemic.

“Even during the lockdowns, we delivered the best work we’ve ever produced as a company. Across our studios in Dublin, Toronto, New York and Bali, we went to great lengths to ensure everybody felt connected and had a common purpose.”

-Cathal Gaffney, 9 Story, COO & Brown Bag Films, Managing Director

This year also marks 9 Story and Brown Bag’s return to the number one spot on the Kidscreen Hot50 Production list since we last charted in 1st place back in 2018.

See the full list of Kidscreen Hot50 Production honorees below:

  1. 9 Story Media Group/Brown Bag Films
  2. Moonbug Entertainment
  3. Netflix
  4. Daily Madness Productions
  5. Sinking Ship Entertainment
  6. Blue Zoo Animation Studio
  7. WildBrain
  8. Atomic Cartoons
  9. DreamWorks Animation
  10. Guru Studio



With its second-place finish on this year’s Kidscreen Hot50 list, it is also clear that 9 Story Distribution International had a very strong year! The division bolstered its AVOD business by a massive 174% year-over-year and licensed more than 4,300 half hours of content to top platforms, with new clients Peacock, Xumo and FilmRise among them. Our team also acquired five new series—Circle Square, Bad Nature, Andy and the Band, Donkey Hodie and Weird Waters—and secured two greenlights for WarnerMedia’s new Cartoonito preschool block, including 9 Story and Brown Bag Films’ new preschool show Ladybird Lu and the 9 Story developed CBC original series Dylan.

Check out the full list of the Kidscreen Hot50 Distribution nominees below:

  1. Jetpack Distribution
  2. 9 Story Distribution International
  3. WildBrain
  4. Moonbug Entertainment
  5. Sinking Ship Entertainment
  6. Sesame Workshop
  7. CAKE Entertainment
  8. Boat Rocker Media
  9. Australian Children’s Television Foundation
  10. Aardman Animations



Finally, we were delighted to see 9 Story Media Group swooping into the sixth slot on the Hot50 Digital Media list. This honour is a testament to the talents of our dynamic digital team, which has been working hard to grow our presence across YouTube over this past year. 9 Story now manages more than 100 brands on the AVOD platform—including the recent addition of 15 Scholastic brands, with The Magic School Bus and Clifford among them. We also expanded our interactive portfolio with the launch of the new online game Let’s Go Luna: Postcards Around the World, and the completion of a significant new update and expansion pack for our 2021 Webby Award-nominated online game Xavier Riddle Hero Maker.

Check out the full list of the Kidscreen Hot50 Digital Media nominees below:

  2. Moonbug Entertainment
  3. WildBrain Spark
  4. BBC Studios
  5. CBC Kids Digital
  6. 9 Story Media Group
  7. Amazon
  8. Sesame Workshop
  9. Sinking Ship Entertainment
  10. Cartoon Network


To see the full list of the 2021 Hot50 companies visit Kidscreen’s Hot50 microsite or download Kidscreen’s special Hot50 digital issue here. The number-one ranked companies will be honored at the 2022 Kidscreen Awards ceremony taking place during Kidscreen Summit in Miami on Tuesday, February 15.

A huge thank you again to our extraordinary crews at 9 Story and Brown Bag Films, who without, accolades like these would not exist. It’s truly incredible to see what we can achieve together!

And an enormous congratulations to all the 2021 Kidscreen Hot50 honorees.