Pipeline Studios
There is a massive wealth of creative talent in Ontario

Pipeline Studios is a creative-driven studio, with a focus on development, production, and distribution of award-winning kids and family brands for a global audience. Headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario, Pipeline Studios boasts partnerships with industry titans such as Sony, Disney, Netflix and Nickelodeon, as well as Hasbro, TVO Kids, Universal studios and many others.

Most notably, Pipeline has established strong partnerships to produce shows like Sony’s popular children’s animated series Hotel Transylvania, Disney’s Star and the Forces of Evil, Netflix’s Legend Quest and Nickelodeon’s Sunny Day and Bubble Guppies, to name a few.

“Pipeline aims to solve creative, technical, financial, scheduling and delivery challenges for our media partners. We achieve this by empowering our teams to be creative, fully engaged and innovative throughout the beautiful process of bringing great stories to life,” says President and CFO, Juan Lopez. Pipeline’s approach exceeds expectations of major media companies like Netflix, PBS, Universal, Fox and Disney.

Pipeline’s creative engine, known as ‘Stingray’, is always ready for a challenge and is actively collaborating on fresh, creative and innovative ideas – ideas that are highly marketable, engages audiences and that end up growing into successful brands.

“In addition to our own brands, we help our media partners take ideas, concepts and creative strategies to build premium quality brands that can hit the market on time and on budget,” says Lopez.

Pipeline is bringing a very popular gaming app into full series production. “We can’t share the name just yet, but this project was born from the popular ‘create your own story’ maker movement,” says Lopez. This will allow children to seamlessly upload their creations to YouTube – a trend that is already seeing some videos garner over a million views. To cater to this audience, Pipeline Studios launched production of 43 one-minute shorts for YouTube distribution.

“YouTube is a major source for kids looking for content today,” say Lopez. “We always stay ahead of consumer habits and provide new content in new ways that align with the ongoing search for unique experiences.”

Pipeline’s internal development currently has 15 titles in market, and six at various stages of production and development.

Welcome to Your Master Class

When Pipeline Studios was founded in 2007, “there wasn’t a healthy relationship between the artist community and production companies,” reflects Lopez. Pipeline changed all that by instiling a philosophy that was unique to the industry – a strong culture, full of respect and creative leadership. In a very short period of time, Pipeline became one of the largest production companies in Canada, delivering to top tier brands. Lopez attributes that growth to its innovative approach to business and Ontario’s long standing investment in cultural industries. “We gave our team the tools and the space to evolve, and we invested heavily in the quality of life of our artists.”

Pipeline Studios expanded its business globally in search of new markets and creative development opportunities. “When we started looking for talent globally, we realized Canada was way ahead in most markets,” says Lopez. “Ultimately, it was a good problem to have, because it inspired us to bring our advanced processes, production values and quality standards that Canada is known for, and set up academic partnerships for advanced skill development along with fully operational studios in key regions globally.” The training program known as the Pipeline University Master Class is now recognized in each region as the leading training program for animation. The talent that comes out of the Master Class program feeds directly back into the studio, allowing Pipeline access to a constant flow of highly skilled global talent.

All that talent has promoted further growth, as 2019 saw the company expand to Europe with the launch of its Distribution and Acquisition team, acting as Pipeline’s sales hub in Paris, France. Other expansions include a massive studio and training center in Colombia, as well as a large facility in Chile. “Through our global expansions, we have entered traditionally low-value markets and brought out some interesting results.”

Beyond expansions for the company itself, Pipeline is very passionate about investing in the growth of the creative cluster. “We currently have over 100,000 square feet globally,” says Lopez. “And it’s all dedicated to production, the creative cluster, incubation programs and innovation.”

The Hamilton Hub: A Creative Community

Canadian technology and software companies are ahead of their competition when it comes to talent and the industry standard tools they use to produce content.

“Canada’s creative talent is number one in the world, which is no surprise as some of the best schools are here,” boasts Lopez. “But it’s also the environment – there’s a lot of growth, especially in Ontario.”

Pipeline decided to make a footprint in Ontario because of the massive wealth of creative talent, specifically in Hamilton. Most of the senior talent located in Ontario had been commuting to Toronto, and Pipeline was able to attract that talent by offering a higher quality of life.

Geographically, Hamilton is a short drive from Kitchener-Waterloo, and the Niagara-Buffalo area, which has brought the company additional opportunities and partnerships.

“It was a strategic position to set up here,” says Lopez. “I’ve lived all around North America, but have found people in Hamilton the most eager to embrace opportunities for creative industries.”

Getting into the Game

Pipeline Studios isn’t slowing down when it comes to innovation. “We’ve received full funding to produce a range of gaming experiences,” says Lopez. “Not many companies offer both gaming and production – that’s where we are unique. We will be able to build stories on the spot for both platforms, maximizing the use of the technology without rebuilding.”

Over the next couple of years, Pipeline’s Banzai software development engine will be launching a series of software tools based on its production model. “The tools will be designed for companies that want to impress their clients and internal staff by seamlessly communicating and delivering production assets” explains Lopez.

The incredible team at Pipeline Studios are excited and prepared to continue making stories as immersive as possible, leveraging its innovative spirit and a city full of creative talent. And as consumer demands change around the content and experiences they are looking for, Pipeline is ready for the disruption, says Lopez: “It’s a time for valuable partnerships and creative strategy to turn disruption challenges into exciting opportunities and successful outcomes.”

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