PR: HIT Entertainment Elevates Strategic Partnership with the LEGO Group
Agreement Marks Elevated Sponsorship Program Across Broadcast, Live Events and Online for Thomas & Friends™ and Extends Global License For Thomas & Friends and Bob the Builder™
New York, NY – February 13, 2008 – HIT Entertainment, a leading provider of quality preschool entertainment, announces a comprehensive strategic partnership with the LEGO Group, encompassing the presenting sponsorship of Thomas & Friends on PBS KIDS® in the U.S. and presenting sponsorship of the popular A Day Out With Thomas tour in North America. In addition, this agreement includes a global extension of HIT’s existing relationship with The LEGO Group for LEGO® DUPLO® Thomas & Friends and Bob the Builder construction toys in the world-leading construction toy maker’s product portfolio The announcement was made by Jamie Cygielman, Senior Vice President, Consumer Products, HIT Entertainment and Jill Wilfert, Vice President, Global Licensing and Entertainment, LEGO Group.
“The LEGO Group has been one of HIT’s key partners for nearly a decade. Now, in addition to extending our global partnership to create and market exciting Thomas and Bob construction sets, The LEGO Group has committed to Thomas & Friends in a significant way in the US, integrating with the brand on television, online at www.thomasandfriends.com and www.lego.com and through live events, such as A Day Out With Thomas,” said Cygielman. “This agreement unites two leaders in the preschool space and creates a compelling and unique program that will ultimately result in a richer consumer experience.”
“We are thrilled to both extend our global partnership with HIT Entertainment, and elevate the level of marketing and collaboration between HIT and LEGO Group through our collective touchpoints and assets,” said Wilfert. “Both the Thomas and Bob properties have translated very well into LEGO construction sets and now, with the added marketing integration, we look forward to bringing an even stronger and more engaging experience to our consumers.”
The details of the agreement are as follows:
Since fall 2007 and extending through 2008, The LEGO Group will serve as a presenting sponsor of the popular Thomas & Friends television series on PBS KIDS® in the US. In this role, The LEGO Group will receive 15-second spots at the open and close of each Thomas & Friends episode and will be featured on the Thomas & Friends website, www.thomasandfriends.com and on pbskids.org with new branded games and banner ads.
As part of the new agreement, The LEGO Group will also serve as the presenting sponsor for the popular Day Out With Thomas™ tour in North America, beginning in spring 2008. As sponsor of this grassroots tour, which includes approximately 300 event days at more than 45 heritage railroad stations across the US and Canada annually, The LEGO Group will receive extensive branding at each event, including on-site signage, model displays and LEGO bricks at the “Imagination Station.” Steaming into its 13th year in 2008, the Day Out With Thomas tour reaches more than 1 million children and families annually.
The LEGO Group, a global partner for the Thomas & Friends and Bob the Builder brands for the past 4 and 7 years respectively, will extend to include new products to be launched in 2008 and beyond. The LEGO Group will begin creating all-new construction sets for Thomas & Friends in 2008. Bob the Builder will be an exclusive for LEGO direct to consumer outlets, as well as independent toy stores, while Thomas & Friends will be available in most major toy and discount merchandise retail outers and specialty retail doors. The toy maker will feature both HIT brands through their various direct to consumer touch points including consumer catalogs, LEGO.com and in LEGO Brand stores nationwide.
About HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment, owned by private equity investment group Apax Partners, is one of the world’s leading independent children’s entertainment producers and rights-owners. HIT’s portfolio includes properties, such as Barney™, Bob the Builder™, Thomas & Friends™, Pingu™, Fireman Sam™, Angelina Ballerina™ and Rainbow Magic™. HIT represents Fifi and the Flowertots™ in North America and Japan and acts as a worldwide representative for The Jim Henson Company’s library of classic family brands and as representative for The Wiggles® in the UK. HIT also owns the Guinness World Records™ publishing and television property. Launched in 1989, HIT’s lines of business span television and video production (including studios in the US and the UK), publishing, consumer products licensing and live events. With a catalogue of more than 1,500 hours of young children’s programming, HIT sells its shows to more than 240 countries worldwide, in more than 45 different languages and has operations in the UK, US, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. In 2005, the Company joined Comcast Corporation, PBS and Sesame Workshop to launch PBS KIDS SproutSM, a 24-hour digital cable channel and VOD service for preschoolers. In 2007, HIT and Chellomedia, the European content division of Liberty Global, Inc and its subsidiary ChelloZone, announced a joint venture to launch and distribute JimJam, an international preschool TV channel (excludes the US, UK and China). For more information, visit www.hitentertainment.com
About The LEGO Group
Based in Billund, Denmark, the LEGO Company, family-owned and privately-held since its founding in 1932, is a world leader in providing quality products and experiences that stimulate children’s creativity, imagination and learning through playful activities that encourage hands-on, minds-on creation, fun, togetherness and sharing of ideas. Company employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: “Only the best is good enough.” For more information, visit www.LEGO.com
LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of The LEGO Group. © 2008 The LEGO Group.
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