HIT Entertainment, one of the world’s leading children’s entertainment producers and rights-owners, today announced a major deal that will see the new CG-animated series of ‘Thomas & Friends’ air on Japanese public broadcaster NHK for the very first time. Broadcast distribution on NHK will significantly increase the presence of the brand in the country where it is currently the number 1 pre-school property.
As part of the multi-year agreement, ‘Thomas & Friends’ will air weekly on NHK’s children’s entertainment block starting this month. The content will include all of the new CG-animated series as well as the hour-long ‘Thomas & Friends’ specials, which NHK plans to air on a spot basis. All programming will be broadcast in Japanese. NHK will also take a co-production credit in Japan starting with series 16.
Edward Catchpole, Senior Vice President, HIT Brands said: “We’re delighted to enter into this new partnership with NHK to bring Thomas & Friends to children and families in Japan. This is the next major step in cementing Thomas’ position as the number 1 pre-school property in Japan and will significantly grow the brand in the future.”
Kazumasa Iida, Head of International Program Development at NHK, said: “Thomas & Friends is so popular with children around the world that we’re extremely happy to be airing the new series on our channel. We look forward to further collaborating with HIT Entertainment to make Thomas & Friends an even bigger success in Japan.”
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About Thomas & Friends®
Thomas the Tank Engine was created by a father for his son 66 years ago and today is enjoyed by families in more than 185 territories and in 30 languages. The #1 blue engine and his friends invite children to enter a world of imagination through the tracks of a train and the words of a story. Children embark on adventures with their engine friends while experiencing timeless life lessons of discovery, friendship and cooperation. Thomas & Friends makes tracks to great destinations on PBS KIDS® and Sprout® in the US and on Five’s Milkshake! and Nick Jr in the UK and on CCTV in China. Downloadable episodes are available through iTunes. For more information about the world of Thomas the Tank Engine® and his friends, please visit www.thomasandfriends.com.
About HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment is one of the world's leading children's entertainment producers and rights owners. HIT Entertainment is a division of Fisher-Price. HIT’s portfolio includes properties, such as Thomas & Friends®, Barney®, Bob the Builder®, Fireman Sam®, Angelina Ballerina®, Mike the Knight™, Pingu® and Rainbow Magic®. Launched in 1989, HIT’s lines of business span television and video production, content distribution, publishing, consumer products licensing, digital media, and live events and has operations in the UK, US, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. For more information, visit www.hitentertainment.com
NHK is Japan’s sole public broadcaster. Funded entirely by receiving fees from Japanese households, it has a reputation for impartial, high-quality programming. NHK reaches about 50 million households via four nationwide TV channels. It produces about 80% of the programs it airs. NHK-produced content encompasses a wide range of genres including news, documentaries, talk shows, children’s and educational programs, music, drama, and animation, all in HD. www.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld