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ACK Media Launches Bright Start Books; ACK Media Timeline

ack mediaACK Media, the company that owns the mythological content business Amar Chitra Katha, along with other children focussed ventures has launched a new series of activity books called Bright Start books for the age group of 2-6 years of age.

The company said that these books will offer various types of activities like copy colouring, jigsaw puzzles, mazes and dot-to-dot, among others and will be priced at Rs 55 each.

Founded in 2007, ACK has a catalogue of over 500 print and 100 digital products, and 25 proprietary characters. It currently has brands like ‘Amar Chitra Katha’, which claims to have around 400 comic titles which have apparently sold more than 90 million copies titles, a children’s magazine ‘Tinkle’, which claims to have a circulation of more than 225,000 per month and Karadi Tales which claims to have 45 titles in children’s audiobooks, over 25 titles in home video and 10 audio biographies.

ACK Media Timeline

September 2008: ACK Media launched a website for its proprietary characters and brands called AmarChitraKatha.com

April 2009: ACK Media had tied up with Synqua Games, a mobile game studio based in Mumbai to develop and distribute mobile games on characters like Arjuna, Bheema, Suppandi and Shikari Shambu among others. This partnership was inked after tying up with Vodafone for audio books, illustrated comics, ringtones and wallpapers.

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June 2009: ACK Media partnered with an US based firm iRemedi to put up 15 of its titles including Panchatantra Moral Stories, Mirabai, Ganesha, Buddha, Krishna, The Gita and Rama on Apple’s iTunes store.

August 2009: ACK Media entered into a content partnership with Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting System to produce two animated films and a series on Amar Chitra Katha stories.

May 2010: ACK Media acquired India Book House providing them with a distribution network of books / video stores (1000+), magazine vendors (10,000+), school book stores (50,000+) and stationary stores (65,000+).

June 2010: Amar Chitra Katha Pvt Ltd raised GBP 4 million (around Rs. 27.4 crore or $5.9 million) from investors including Elephant Capital.

October 2010:  Investment and business management firm Future Group was looking to acquire 40% stake in ACK Media.

November 2010: According to Elephant Capital’s newsletter (pdf) in November 2010, the ACK launched a new book on Mother Theresa, to coincide with her 100th birth anniversary. Aimed at 8-14 yr olds, it was available on iPhone and Amazon Kindle as a mobile comic. The company had also expanded its home video catalogue, with 10 new titles of Karadi Tales and ACK stories for 8+ year olds, and addition of Hindi titles. It also mentioned that the second series of the ACK TV show was expected to be aired on Cartoon Network and the first season of Suppandi television show went into production. ACK was also apparently in talks with children focussed television channels to air a second season of Karadi Tales on television.

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April 2011: ACK Media raised Rs 37 crore from Future Ventures for a 26% stake in the company. Existing investor, Elephant Capital also participated in the funding round with a follow on investment of Rs 6.5 crore (GBP 0.9 million) in addition to Rs 97.8 lakh (GBP 135,000) from its co-investment vehicle. Following this investment, Elephant Capital’s stake in the company increased to 26.1%.

July 2011: Future Ventures increased its stake in ACK Media to 56% from 26%, making it a subsidiary company. The company had acquired 1,41,459 additional equity shares, representing 30% of ACK Media’s share capital from the existing promoters of Amar Chitra Katha Private Limited.

October 2011: ACK-Media announced a partnership with National Geographic Society to publish Indian editions of National Geographic (NGM), National Geographic Traveler (NGT) and National Geographic Kids magazines.

November 2011: ACK Media appointed Vijay Sampath as CEO of the company while Samir Patil, founder of ACK Media, remained as a director on the company’s board.

January 2012: ACK Media appointed Manas Mohan as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO) with effect from 1st January 2012. He was previously serving as the Head – Direct to Customer for the company. In this role, Mohan was expected to oversee the company’s direct marketing and e-commerce business, and head the National Geographic business, advertising sales and strategic leadership of the Brand- Marketing Function including licensing and merchandising.

April 2012: Future Venture India increased its stake in ACK Media to 65.84% from an earlier 56%, after a buyback offer of 70,457 equity shares was accepted by its shareholders.

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October 2012: Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani had stated plans to take Amar Chitra Katha comics to the digital platform in the form of animation, short films or e-books. The company was planning to release short films for tablets and smartphones, and also release 3-4 films in two years. It was also looking to introduce merchandise products like print comic strips or pictures of popular characters on bedsheets, pillow-covers, T-shirts and packs of chyawanprash, honey and incense sticks in both offline and online retail stores.

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