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November 29, 2019

Thunderbird Entertainment Provides Corporate Update and Reports on Strong First Quarter Results


Conference Call and Webcast scheduled for December 2 at 9 a.m. ET

Focus on building and partnering IP to build global franchises

Q1 2020 Revenue $17.1 million; Adjusted EBITDA $3 million

Company cash position at September 30 2019: $16.3 million

21 programs in production with nine being owned or partnered IP 

CEO Jennifer Twiner McCarron awarded top 100 most influential women in Canada  

Vancouver, Canada, November 29, 2019 — Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc. (TSXV:TBRD, OTC – THBRF) (Thunderbird or the Company), today announced its financial results for the first quarter ended September 30, 2019, and provided a corporate update.

“Our entire Thunderbird team has continued to focus on our strategy of building high quality, long lasting brands that will stand the test of time, such as our animated The Last Kids on Earth, factual Highway Thru Hell and scripted Kim’s Convenience,” said Jennifer Twiner McCarron, Chief Executive Officer, Thunderbird Entertainment. “Our talent across Great Pacific Media, Thunderbird Productions and Atomic Cartoons, both on camera and behind the scenes, are second to none, and I am so proud of the work we are getting done together. We are just getting started and the best is yet to come.”

“In Q1 2020, Thunderbird maintained its bellwether approach of building long term shareholder value by using internally-generated free cash flow to fund our growing stable of IP and high growth animation business. This is accomplished while maintaining an extremely strong balance sheet with over $16 million in cash” said Brian Paes-Braga, Chair, Thunderbird Entertainment. “With the streaming wars in the early stages, it is encouraging to see the initial success of new entrants like Disney+, recently topping 15 million app downloads, as this underpins the demand for premium content and the monumental behaviour shift that viewers around the world are experiencing. This is a gold rush moment in the content development industry and Thunderbird is poised to capitalize. 2020 is shaping up to be another transformative year.”

Paes-Braga added, “I also want to applaud Jenn and Mark Miller for their achievements and recognitions of excellence, which include Atomic’s growth being recognized by Business in Vancouver as one of the top three largest digital arts companies in B.C. and Jenn being recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. Thunderbird is fortunate to have a leader like Jenn, as our culture and people are the Company’s greatest asset. It’s incredible to watch our growing team and platform, which is now more than 1,000 crew in Canada, the United States and Europe, passionately creating content that makes the world a better place,”

Financial Highlights for the Three Months Ended September 30, 2019

 Summary of results for September 30, 2019 Three months ended
September 30, 2019
Three months ended
September 30, 2018
Revenue $ 17.1 $ 14.4
Net income (loss) $ 0.8 $ 1.5
Adjusted EBITDA 1 $ 3.0 $ 4.2

Results for the three months ended September 30, 2019 compared to the three months ended September 30, 2018:

      For the three months ended
($000’s, except per share data)           September 30, 2019   September 30, 2018
Revenue         $ 17,051 $ 14,361
Expenses         16,202 12,907
Net income from continuing operations           849   1,454
Income from discontinued operations         30
Foreign currency translation adjustment           (4)   (9)
Comprehensive net income for the period attributable to owners of the parent         $ 875 $ 1,445
Basic earnings per share – continuing operations         $ 0.018 $ 0.037
Diluted earnings per share – continuing operations         $ 0.017 $ 0.026
Basic earnings per share – discontinued operations         $ 0.001 $
Diluted earnings per share – discontinued operations         $ 0.001                $    –
Adjusted EBITDA         $ 3,027 $ 4,188
  • During the three months ending September 30, 2019, the Company paid down $0.7 million of a three-year non-revolving term loan that was initially drawn in July 2018 in the amount of $6 million. At the end of the quarter, the outstanding balance of the term loan was $0.7 million. The term loan was drawn in order to repurchase common shares of certain shareholders of TEI on an accretive basis and was part of an overall credit facility negotiated with the Royal Bank of Canada that also included an increased production line of credit and an acquisition facility.
  • Effective July 1, 2019, the Company adopted and implemented IFRS 16 Leases, which requires a lessee to recognize all leases on the balance sheet with a right-of-use asset and corresponding lease liability, with limited exemptions. Previously, leases were classified as either operating leases (off-balance sheet) or financing leases (on-balance sheet), and rental payments were expensed on the income statement.
  • Consolidated revenue for the three months ended September 30, 2019 was $17.1 million as compared to $14.4 million for the comparative period ended September 30, 2018, an increase of $2.7 million. The majority of the first quarter revenue increase over the comparative quarter in 2019 is related to growth in the animation division.
  • Consolidated net income was $0.8 million for the three months ending September 30, 2019, compared to $1.5 million for the comparative period ended September 30, 2018, a decrease of $0.7 million. The main difference is the increase in direct costs related to the Company’s productions.  Other differences relate to the increase in salaries and contracting fees and computer maintenance (due to animation expansion).  These were offset by revenue growth in the animation division.
  • The Company’s adjusted EBITDA for Q1 2020 was $3.0 million compared to $4.2 million for the first quarter of 2019, a decrease of $1.2 million. The decrease was due to a decrease in net income of $0.7 million due to an increase in direct costs from the Company’s productions, offset partially by decreases due to the amortization of right-of-use assets related to the adoption of IFRS 16.  See “Non-IFRS Measures” and “Adjusted EBITDA” sections of this MD&A for the definition and detailed calculation of Adjusted EBITDA.

The Company’s unaudited interim financial statements along with its Management’s Discussion and Analysis for Q1 2020 are available on the Company’s website at http://www.thunderbird.tv and under the Company’s profile at www.sedar.com.

Overarching Industry Trends

  • Netflix remains the most established platform, with 139 million subscribers around the world and a content library of 47,000 TV episodes and 4,000 movies. No other streamer comes close to that amount of content.[1]
  • November marked the debut of Apple TV+and Disney+, two prominent and well established media corporations, entering the modern streaming industry.
  • Further reinforcing the demand for premium content, Disney+ surpassed 10 million subscribers on first day.[2]
  • To attract subscribers, Apple TV+ offered a one year free subscription to those who buy a new iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV. Analysts have forecasted that Apple TV+ could sign up as many as nine million subscribers by the end of 2019 and 18 million by the end of 2020.[3]
  • Two more media companies, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia, will join the fray in 2020 with Peacock and HBO Max.
  • As the streaming wars intensify, the previously used term “Peak TV” has become antiquated. With no signs of content demand slowing down, forecasts for the “future of TV” highlight data-driven streaming, the importance of highly personalized service, and the need for niche content that resonates with consumers who are becoming increasingly discerning in what they will pay for.[4]
  • With 5G rolling out globally, the next generation of mobile technology is poised to enhance the consumer streaming experience by offering faster speeds, lower latency, stronger reliability, higher capacity, and better mobility. 5G will make it easier for consumers to enjoy a host of streaming options, further reinforcing the strong demand for premium content.[5]

Thunderbird’s Q1 Highlights

  • During the first quarter, the Company had 21 programs in various stages of production, and deals with Netflix, NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, PBS, WGBH, Bell Media’s Discovery, APTN, Corus Entertainment and the CBC, among others.
  • The majority of series in production with the Factual Division are IP-owned. The Kids and Family Division is in production for the IP-owned series The Last Kids on Earth. The Company currently has additional funds invested in developing up to 25 additional IP shows.
  • Throughout Q1, 37-half hours episodes and 18-hour episodes were delivered collectively from the Factual, Scripted, and Kids and Family Divisions.
  • The Company’s fiscal 2019/2020 production budgets are estimated at $170MM, with 13 productions scheduled for delivery in 2020.
  • In line with the Company’s growth and development plan, as previously announced, the Company delivered its largest fall lineup, with eight productions premiering across multiple platforms, including with partners like Discovery Channel, Netflix, PBS/WGBH, and Disney+.
  • David Gerhard was hired to lead Atomic Cartoon’s rapidly expanding Ottawa team as Studio Creative Director. Relocating from LA, Gerhard manages teams working on projects for NBCUniversal.
  • Brian PaesBraga was appointed Chair of the Company’s Board of Directors.
  • Subsequent to the quarter, Business in Vancouver published its Biggest Digital Arts Companies list, Atomic Cartoons was ranked #3, following companies like EA and Sony Picture Imageworks.
  • Also subsequent to the quarter, Thunderbird CEO Jennifer Twiner McCarron was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network.

Factual Division, Great Pacific Media, Continues to Demonstrate the Power of IP-Owned Productions

  • During the quarter, Thunderbird’s factual division was in production for five series and one documentary:Highway Thru Hell (Season 8), Heavy Rescue: 401 (Season 4), Save My Reno (Season 3), Queen of the Oil Patch (Season 2), High Arctic Haulers (Season 1) and Teenager and the Lost Mayan City (Documentary for CBC).
  • As previously announced, the Company started production of the 9thSeason of the hit series, Highway Thru Hell, which is a top-rated series on Discovery Canada. Season 9 will be the series’ largest (18 episodes). Season 8 began airing in October 2019, and includes the milestone 100th
  • Highway Thru Hell Season 8 was in production on 17 original hours during the quarter, and Heavy Rescue: 401 Season 4 was in production for 13 original hours. Both series continue to have strong international sales, are available in more than 180 countries and territories around the world, and in more than a dozen languages.
  • Principal photography began on Season 2 of the critically-acclaimed documentary seriesQueen of the Oil Patch. The series is produced in collaboration with Kah-Kitowak Films. It is scheduled to premiere on APTN in 2020.
  • Another IP-owned production, High Arctic Haulers, has been delivered and is set to premiere in January 2020 on CBC.
  • The Teenager and the Lost Mayan City was in production for CBC’s The Nature of Things. The episode follows the journey of teenager William Gadoury, who in May 2016 made headlines around the world when he announced he’d discovered the location of a lost Mayan city using NASA satellite images
  • The Factual Division’s success continues to be rooted in productive partnerships with broadcast and streaming partners globally, resulting in five series being renewed this past year.

Kids & Family Division, Atomic Cartoons, A Trusted Partner Delivering Premium Content Amidst the Streaming Wars

  • During the quarter, Atomic Cartoons was in various stages of production on 14 animated television programs. Service productions include Hello Ninja for Netflix, Molly of Denali for WGBH/ PBS KIDS and CBC, 101 Dalmatian Street for Disney+, LEGO: Jurassic World for NBCUniversal.
  • As previously announced, Thunderbird’s high profile new animated series, The Last Kids on Earth, premiered on Netflix in September 2019. More episodes of the owned-IP title are now in development, and the Company announced a video game based on the series with Outright Games, which is scheduled for a 2021 release. A worldwide merchandise line is also scheduled to launch in 2020.
  • Molly of Denali, acknowledged as the first nationally distributed US children’s series to feature an Indigenous lead, was launched in July 2019 on PBS/WGBH in the United States. It also premiered on CBC Canada in September 2019.
  • Hello Ninja, Thunderbird’s most recent collaboration with Netflix, began streaming on November 1, 2019. It is the latest production that incorporates Thunderbird’s strategy of developing high quality, proven-popular books into animated productions. The series is Thunderbird’s first-ever partner managed production for Netflix.

Thunderbird Scripted Continues to Attract Worldwide Audiences with Season 4 of Kim’s Convenience, the Award-winning Comedy, on the Horizon

  • During the first quarter, production of Season 4 of Kim’s Convenience was completed, with the premiere scheduled to air on January 7, 2020.
  • Kim’s Convenience airs on CBC and CBC Gem in Canada, with previous seasons available worldwide through a mix of Netflix streaming, video on demand partnerships and cable TV deals, including in Japan and Korea.

Conference Call Webcast on December 2, 2019 at 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time

Thunderbird will hold a conference call and webcast to share the Company’s 2020 first quarter financial results on Monday, December 2, 2019 at 6 a.m. PST/ 9 a.m. EST. A live webcast of the conference call can be accessed by clicking here. The call will be recorded for webcasting purposes and will be available at www.thunderbird.tv two hours after the initial scheduled time.

Q1 Press Release:                                           

Friday, November 29, 2019

Q1 Conference Call:                                      

Monday, December 2, 2019 at 6 a.m. PST

Canadian Dial-In Numbers:                       

(+1) 416 764 8609 (Toronto)

(+1) 778 383 7417 (Vancouver)

North American Toll-Free Number:           

(+1) 888 390 0605

Conference ID Number:                      


Alternatively, you may access a replay of the conference call by calling (+1) 416 764 8677 or toll-free at (+1) 888 390 0541 (passcode 416225 #) two hours after the initial scheduled time.

About Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc.

Thunderbird Entertainment Group is a Vancouver-based global multiplatform entertainment company with offices in Vancouver, Los Angeles, Toronto, Ottawa and London. Thunderbird creates award-winning scripted, unscripted and animated programming for the world’s leading digital platforms, as well as Canadian and International broadcasters. Thunderbird’s vision is to produce high quality, socially responsible content that makes the world a better place.  The Company develops, produces and distributes animated, factual and scripted content through its various divisions, including Thunderbird Kids and Family (Atomic Cartoons), Thunderbird Factual (Great Pacific Media) and Thunderbird Productions. Thunderbird also has a division based in the United Kingdom dedicated to establishing partnerships with production companies to develop the Company’s intellectual property (IP) and growth in key international territories. Thunderbird is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @tbirdent. For more information, visit: www.thunderbird.tv

On Behalf of Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc.

Jennifer Twiner McCarron

Chief Executive Officer

For information on Thunderbird and to subscribe to the Company’s investor list for news updates, go to www.thunderbird.tv.  For further information, please contact:

Investor Relations Contacts:

Lucas Cahill and Freddie Leigh

Phone: + 1 604.683.3555
Email: investors@thunderbird.tv

Media Relations Contact:

Julia Smith, Finch Media

Phone: +1 604.803.0897
Email:  julia@finchmedia.net

 Neither the TSX-V nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX-V) accepts responsibility of the adequacy or accuracy of this release, which has been prepared by management.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This news release includes certain “forward-looking statements” under applicable Canadian securities legislation that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results, performance, prospects, and opportunities to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to the Company’s objectives, goals or future plans and the business and operations of the Company. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based on a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: general business, economic and social uncertainties; litigation, legislative, environmental and other judicial, regulatory, political and competitive developments; those additional risks set out in the Company’s Filing Statement and other public documents filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com; and other matters discussed in this news release. Although the Company believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing the forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on these statements, which only apply as of the date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all. Except where required by law, the Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Non-IFRS Measures

This news release contains references to certain measures that do not have a standardized meaning under International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) as prescribed by the International Accounting Standards Board and are therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. Rather, these measures are provided as additional information to complement IFRS measures by providing a further understanding of operations from management’s perspective. Accordingly, non-IFRS measures should not be considered in isolation nor as a substitute for analysis of financial information reported under IFRS. The Company believes that non-IFRS measures, specifically EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA, are frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties as measures of financial performance and to provide supplemental measures of operating performance and thus highlight trends that may not otherwise be apparent when relying solely on IFRS financial measures.

[1] ZD Net https://www.zdnet.com/article/home/h3jxx4vdo1yw/public_htmlle-tv-plus-will-be-bigger-than-netflix-if-apple-does-a-billion-things-just-right/

[2] The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/13/20963172/disney-plus-subscribers-10-million-star-wars-marvel-pixar-launch

[3]Fortune Magazine: https://fortune.com/2019/09/11/home/h3jxx4vdo1yw/public_htmlle-tv-plus-subscribers-netflix/

[4] Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/07/05/what-is-the-future-of-television/#6aaa7dea59de

[5] IHSMarket: https://ihsmarkit.com/research-analysis/the-benefits-of-5g.html?ite=974655&ito=1274&itq=43740f2f-03cc-40de-ad84-a911477d2941&itx%5Bidio%5D=29740858