The Info List - HiT Entertainment

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HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment
Ltd. (styled "HiT") is a British–American entertainment company owned by Mattel
and originally established in 1982 as Henson International Television (formerly styled "hit!"). It was founded as the international distribution arm of Jim Henson Productions. HIT owns and distributes children's television series such as Barney & Friends, Bob the Builder, Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam, and Angelina Ballerina.[4]


1 History

1.1 Henson International Television 1.2 HiT Entertainment 1.3 Private corporation (2005–2012) 1.4 Mattel
subsidiary (2012–present)

2 References 3 External links

History[edit] Henson International Television[edit] Henson International Television was founded in 1982, by Jim Henson
Jim Henson
and Peter Orton as a distribution company for their children's, teens and family television.[5] Orton had met Henson when he was at the Children's Television Workshop
Children's Television Workshop
(now Sesame Workshop) handling Sesame Street distribution. So Henson hired Orton in 1981 to set up the company.[6] HiT Entertainment[edit] Jim Henson
Jim Henson
Productions started negotiations with The Walt Disney Company regarding a possible purchase of the company in the late 1980s. Because of these negotiations, Henson International Television head Orton led a management buyout of the Henson International Television division from Henson in 1989, forming a new company named HiT Entertainment.[1] HiT continued distributing programming by initially signing Postman Pat and Alvin & the Chipmunks series. The company then financed and distributed Wind in the Willows
Wind in the Willows
and the Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit
animated features. In 1990, Flextech took a 23% share in HiT for about £600,000. The HiT Wildlife division was soon set up to produce nature and wildlife programming which provided the company with 35% of its revenue by the mid-1990s.[1] HiT also handled international distribution for Lyrick Studios' Barney & Friends. With the success of Barney, HiT began to develop its own programming for the pre-school market. By 1996, HiT was listed on the AIM to raise funding to develop these programs. HiT used the funding to launch HiT Video that produced direct to video programming in the UK only. Bob the Builder
Bob the Builder
was one such character that HiT purchased its TV series rights.[1] With another offering in 1997, HiT increased its capitalization and move to the primary London
Stock Exchange. HIT used this funding to develop Brambly Hedge, Percy the Park Keeper, and Kipper, which became its first hit on ITV.[1] In 1998, HIT formed its own animation production company, HOT Animation, Katherine Yung and Julie Hinds, and its Consumers Product Division. Also, BBC
signed on as the broadcaster for Bob the Builder. HiT signed a series of USA broadcasting deal starting with Nickelodeon for Kipper and expanded to Starz/Encore ( Brambly Hedge and Percy the Park Keeper series), HBO
Family (Anthony Ant cartoon series) and Animal Planet
Animal Planet
channel (Wylands Ocean World wildlife program). Kipper also won the 1998 BAFTA award for Best Children's Animation. To end the year, HIT offered another group of shares.[1] HIT opened 1999 with 10 first run TV series in the USA and started its consumer products USA subsidiary. In April, Bob the Builder
Bob the Builder
debuted on the BBC
as a hit. In July, the company made another public offering of stock. A USA deal for Bob was signed in December with Nickelodeon
to start airing in January 2001. Mattel
signed a five-year licensing agreement for its development Angelina Ballerina series.[1] In January 2000, the company split its share five-for-one. HiT which has been looking for an acquisition for a while began talks with Thomas the Tank Engine
Thomas the Tank Engine
owner, Britt Allcroft early that year, but fell apart as they could not agree on a price. Bob the Builder
Bob the Builder
continued its success with the number one record in December.[1] HiT acquired Lyrick Studios in February 2001 while selling Lyrick's money losing publishing operations and extending its Barney- PBS
deal. In May, the first Bob the Builder
Bob the Builder
video was released in the USA while the company signed a deal with Sears
to have "Bob Shops" in the retail's stores. With the Henson Company's owner EM.TV in financial trouble over its purchase of 50% share in Formula One racing rights, HiT joined a number of companies willing to purchase Henson.[1] In October 2001, HiT's bid for Pingu
BV was accepted.[7] In April 2002, HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment
sold their HIT Wildlife division to the newly formed Parthenon Entertainment, which was owned by the former managing director of Hit Wildlife, Carl Hall. 30 hours of programming in production and its 300-hour library was transferred over in the Management buyout agreement.[8] After two years of bids from HiT, Gullane Entertainment's board agreed to be purchased by HiT in 2002 when no white knight could be found.[9] In August 2002, HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment
Canada, Inc. official opened its office in Toronto.[3] In March 2003, CCI Entertainment
CCI Entertainment
acquired HiT's stake in CCI (part of the Gullane Purchase) and Gullane library rights in Canada.[10] On April 1, 2004, the company and The Jim Henson
Jim Henson
Company agreed to a five-year global distribution and production deal which included distribution of 440 hours of the Henson Company's remaining library include Fraggle Rock, Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, The Hoobs puppets and the Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories.[11] While firing its chief executive Rob Lawes in October 2004, the company announced its launching of PBS
Kids Sprout with partners PBS, Comcast
and Sesame Workshop.[12] Private corporation (2005–2012)[edit] In 2005, Apax Partners
Apax Partners
took HiT private purchasing the company for £489.4 million[13] with former BBC
director general Greg Dyke becoming chairman.[2] In 2006, HiT closed its DVD sales and distribution arm in the US and contracted with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
for DVD distribution.[2] HiT continues to sell and distribute its own DVD releasing output in the UK. In September 2007, the corporation and Chellomedia formed a join venture to run JimJam children's channel.[14] In 2008, HiT hired Jeff Dunn, formerly of Nickelodeon, as chief executive and moved DVD distribution to Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Dunn move the company to create new characters, including Mike the Knight, and revitalise existing brands.[2] In February, HiT sold Guinness World Records
Guinness World Records
brand, acquired with Gullane, to Ripley Entertainment.[15] They also sold the rights to the Sooty
characters and properties to his current presenter, Richard Cadell after HiT put the rights to Sooty
up for sale in October 2007. In March 2009, HiT Entertainment started its HiT Movies division based in Los Angeles
Los Angeles
with Julia Pistor as division head to create movies based on the company's franchises.[16] First planned movie adaptation was for live action Thomas & Friends in late 2010.[17] In early 2010, HiT licensed Thomas & Friends to Mattel
for toys.[18] By August, the company withdrew from the JimJam joint venture but would continue providing programming.[19] In April 2011, Apax put HiT up for sale with option to sell the company in two parts Thomas & Friends franchise and the other HiT characters with its Kids Sprout stake with either parts or separately. Expected bidders were Disney, Viacom, Mattel, Hasbro, Classic Media (now known as DreamWorks Classics), Chorion and Saban Brands.[13] By April 2011, Fireman Sam
Fireman Sam
was revitalised enough to be a Top 10 UK best-selling character toy according to NPD Group.[2] Mattel
subsidiary (2012–present)[edit] Apax Partners
Apax Partners
group agreed to sell HiT Entertainment to Mattel
in October 2011 for $680 million. Its share of Sprout was not included in the deal.[18][20] The sale/merger was completed on February 1, 2012, and HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment
became a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel,[21] managed under its Fisher-Price
unit.[22] Their next programme Mike the Knight aired on CBeebies
later in the year.[2] HiT announced a DVD distribution deal with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on May 2, 2014.[23] In early summer 2015, Edaville USA amusement park opened a licensed Thomas Land theme area based on Thomas & Friends.[22] On October 6, 2015, HiT Entertainment announced a long-term partnership with 9 Story Media Group
9 Story Media Group
to relaunch Barney & Friends and Angelina Ballerina.[24] In March 2016, HiT was transferred to Mattel
Creations, a division of Mattel
created to bring all content creation units together under Mattel’s Chief Content Officer Catherine Balsam-Schwaber.[25] References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g h i j " HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment
PLC History". Company Profiles. fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 8 April 2013.  ^ a b c d e f Garside, Juliette (April 17, 2011). "How to get Hit Entertainment back on track?". Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2013.  ^ a b Godfrey, Leigh (August 22, 2002). " HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment
Canada Opens Its Doors". AWN. Retrieved 9 April 2013.  ^ "Our Brands". Corporate. HiT Entertainment. Retrieved 13 February 2014.  ^ "Peter Orton: Media entrepreneur who made a global success of Bob the Builder". The Independent. 12 December 2007. Retrieved 29 December 2017.  ^ Forrest, Simon (12 December 2007). "Obituary: Peter Orton". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2017.  ^ " Pingu
sold for £16m". Business. BBC
News. 2001-10-29. Retrieved 2007-07-21.  ^ Winstone, Keely (29 April 2002). "Ex-Hit Wildlife man firms up Parthenon". C21media. Retrieved December 23, 2016.  ^ Cassy, John (6 July 2002). "Gullane gives in to Barney bid". Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2013.  ^ "CCI takes Gullane titles back from Hit". c21media.net. May 26, 2003. Retrieved 9 April 2013.  ^ Rossingh, Danielle (April 2, 2004). "HIT seals deal for Henson catalogue". Telegraph. Retrieved March 12, 2014.  ^ Martinson, Jane (21 October 2004). "HIT fires chief who pulled off US deal". Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2013.  ^ a b Garside, Juliette (13 April 2011). " Thomas the Tank Engine
Thomas the Tank Engine
and Bob the Builder
Bob the Builder
may part company in HIT sale". Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2013.  ^ Chala, Jean K. (February 28, 2009). Transnational Television in Europe: Reconfiguring Global Communications Networks. I.B.Tauris. pp. 123–124.  ^ Allen, Katie (14 February 2008). "Guinness world records brand sold to Ripley's for £60m". Guardian. Retrieved 9 April 2013.  ^ Afan, Emily Claire (March 4, 2009). "HIT goes to the movies with newly formed film division". kidscreen.com. Retrieved 9 April 2013.  ^ Hayes, Dade (4 March 2009). "Hit Entertainment gets into movie biz". Variety. Retrieved February 23, 2017.  ^ a b Kell, John (October 25, 2011). " Mattel
to Buy HIT Entertainment". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 April 2013.  ^ "Hit pulls out of JimJam JV". Digital TV Europe. TBIvision. October 22, 2010. Retrieved April 25, 2014.  ^ " Barbie
maker Mattel
to buy Thomas the Tank Engine
Thomas the Tank Engine
owner". BBC
News. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011.  ^ Szalai, Georg (January 31, 2012). "Mattel's Acquisition of 'Thomas & Friends' Maker HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment
to Close on Wednesday". Hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 8 April 2013.  ^ a b "HIT Lays Tracks for Thomas Land". License! Global Magazine. UBM. June 17, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2016.  ^ McLean, Thomas J. (May 2, 2014). "HIT Taps Universal for Home Entertainment Distribution". Animation
Magazine. Retrieved May 7, 2014.  ^ Vlessing, Etan (October 6, 2015). "MIPCOM: 'Barney & Friends' Set for Relaunch by Mattel, 9 Story". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 2, 2017.  ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (March 31, 2016). " Mattel
Creations Formed To Centralize Toy Giant's Theatrical, TV & Digital Content". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved June 6, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Official website (Archive)

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Game platforms

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Corporate acquisitions

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The Jim Henson
Jim Henson

Henson Family

Jim Henson Jane Henson Lisa Henson Cheryl Henson Brian Henson John Henson Heather Henson

Major works

The Muppets† Sesame Street‡

TV series

Fraggle Rock
Fraggle Rock
(1983–1987) Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series (1987–1988) The Storyteller (1988–1991) The Jim Henson
Jim Henson
Hour (1989) The Ghost of Faffner Hall (1989) Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories (1990–1992) Dinosaurs (1991–1994) Dog City
Dog City
(1992–1994) CityKids (1993–1994) Secret Life of Toys (1994) Jim Henson's Animal Show
Jim Henson's Animal Show
(1994–1997) Aliens in the Family (1996) The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (1996–1998) Bear in the Big Blue House
Bear in the Big Blue House
† (1997–2006) Brats of the Lost Nebula (1998) Farscape
(1998–2002) Construction Site (1999) Family Rules (1999) Mopatop's Shop (1999–2005) The Fearing Mind (2000) The Hoobs (2001–2003) Telling Stories with Tomie dePaola (2001) Animal Jam
Animal Jam
(2003) Bambaloo (2003-2007) Five Minutes More (2006) Pajanimals (2008, 2011–2013) Sid the Science Kid
Sid the Science Kid
(2008–2013) Dinosaur Train (2009–2017) Me and My Monsters (2010–2011) That Puppet Game Show
That Puppet Game Show
(2013–2014) The Doozers (2013–2014) Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge
Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge
(2014) Hi Opie! (2014–2016) Splash and Bubbles
Splash and Bubbles
(2016-present) Dot.
(2016-present) Julie's Greenroom
Julie's Greenroom
(2017) The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019)

TV specials

The Great Santa Claus Switch (1970) Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
(1977) The Christmas Toy
The Christmas Toy
(1986) Monster Maker (1989) The Song of the Cloud Forest (1989) Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree (1995)

Theatrical films

The Dark Crystal
The Dark Crystal
(1982) Labyrinth (1986) The Witches (1990) Buddy (1997) Rat (2000) Good Boy!
Good Boy!
(2003) Five Children and It (2004) MirrorMask
(2005) Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014) The Star (2017) The Happytime Murders
The Happytime Murders

Other projects

Time Piece (1965, short film) The Cube (1969, teleplay) Gulliver's Travels (1996, miniseries) Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story (2001, miniseries) Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars (2004, miniseries) The Sam Plenty Cavalcade of Action Show Plus Singing! (2008, web series) Unstable Fables (2008, DTV film) Oscar's Hotel for Fantastical Creatures (2015, web series) Turkey Hollow
Turkey Hollow
(2015, TV film)

Henson Alternative

Puppet Up! (2006–present) Late Night Liars
Late Night Liars
(2010) Simian Undercover Detective Squad (2011) Neil's Puppet Dreams (2012–2013) No, You Shut Up!
No, You Shut Up!
(2013–2016) Good Morning Today (2013–2014)


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Jim Henson
Company Lot Jim Henson
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Foundation HIT Entertainment

† Sold to The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company
in 2004, ‡ Muppet characters only; sold to Sesam