Land Grab: Simon Bax and Bill Tilson

May 29, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The players: Simon Bax and Bill Tilson, co-founders of Broadcast Facilities Inc.
The play: Mr. Bax, who left his position as Pixar’s chief financial officer when the company was acquired by the Walt Disney Co. in 2006, and Mr. Tilson, whose own company transmits digital content to satellite TV companies, founded BFI after purchasing Andrita Media Center from Playboy last month. The 106,000-square-foot property, which includes three soundstages and has a staff of 55, is the West Coast’s largest independent high-definition digital media facility, the company says.
The pitch: Most of BFI’s business is network origination, where the company transmits either standard- or high-definition feeds to satellite, cable and fiber-optic television companies. BFI this month was chosen to transmit all of the Hallmark Channel’s high-definition simulcasts to cable and fiber-optic companies, and handles all of MGM HD’s broadcasts. It’s in “active discussions with a number of new and existing clients who are looking to add HD channels over the next year or so,” said Mr. Bax, who declined to identify the networks. While the company won’t disclose current or forecasted sales figures, it has the capacity to double its network-origination clients, said Mr. Tilson, who built Andrita Media Center and operated it for Playboy. “A lot of this is driven by DirecTV’s aggressive push in adding HD channels,” Mr. Bax said. “We saw a tremendous opportunity for third-party clients Bill had attracted to the studio.”
Backstory: Mr. Bax, 49, and Mr. Tilson, 58, met about a dozen years ago when Mr. Bax was working for News Corp.’s Fox unit and Mr. Tilson was running his own firm, which he founded in 1992. Once Playboy decided owning the facility wasn’t a core part of its business, Mr. Bax and Mr. Tilson bought the property for an undisclosed sum.


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