LONDON — Endemol Shine UK has acquired a controlling stake in animation company Simon’s Cat, which was founded in 2008 by illustrator, animator and director Simon Tofield. The company is behind the digital comedy series “Simon’s Cat,” which has had more than 650 million views and has 3.5 million subscribers on YouTube.
The series features the cheeky and amusing antics of a fat white cat and his long suffering owner, Simon. The series became an overnight success when Tofield’s first film, “Cat Man Do,” went viral on YouTube.
“Simon Tofield is a creative entrepreneur and has built his business into an international online success. ‘Simon’s Cat’ is a brilliant example of how an original brand created on YouTube can reach and delight huge audiences,” said Laurence Jones, commercial director at Endemol Shine UK.
Simon’s Cat recently garnered fans’ support through crowd-funding to create the first-ever “Simon’s Cat” color film. The 13-minute animation “Off to the Vet” tells the story of how Simon’s Cat instinctively knows a trip to the vet is imminent and the lengths he’ll go to avoid it.
Following the Endemol Shine deal, the series will become integrated into the Endemol Beyond premium channel and distribution network, and the companies will look at further expansion for the property in television, publishing, licensing and merchandising, while also exploring new platforms.
“Millions of fans around the world love the mischievous and funny ‘Simon’s Cat’ and there is enormous potential for growth, whilst staying true to the brand,” Jones added.
Tofield said: “We’re looking forward to the next step of our relationship with the company and collaborating with the creative and commercial teams.”
Endemol Beyond UK’s slate of original digital programming includes ICON, the lifestyle network led by digital star Michelle Phan, which launched simultaneously in the U.K. and U.S. and has sold across Asia; sports channels Rule’M Sports, featuring KSI; and “Legends of Gaming,” which was created in the U.K., and sold to the U.S. and Germany with further deals in the pipeline.
Endemol Shine UK and Simon’s Cat were advised on the investment by United Agents.