27 JAN, 2011

New York, NY

For the 10th consecutive year, Thomas & Friends™ was the number one license in the preschool toys category in the United States, according to The NPD Group, Inc. Thomas & Friends also holds the #1 spot for top preschool property and it was a top 10 property in the entire toy industry for 2010. This follows on the heels of this month's news that Thomas & Friends ranked as the number-one preschool toy property in the UK for the 11th year in a row, further demonstrating the enormous strength and popularity of the global brand.

According to The NPD Group, Inc., while the total traditional toy industry in the United States increased one point nine percent (1.9%) in 2010, overall Thomas & Friends toy sales increased over forty seven percent (47.1%).

"Thomas & Friends' success can be attributed to HIT's continued delivery of rich content, characters and stories, combined with best-in-class global partners like Fisher-Price, Learning Curve and Mega Brands, as well as a strong fold of domestic partners," said Pam Westman, Executive Vice President, The Americas, HIT Entertainment. "In this extremely competitive marketplace it's a testament to the popularity and appeal of Thomas that the brand has been able to top the charts for ten years as the US' # 1 preschool license and currently stands as the #1 preschool property. After 65 years in the UK, and over 21 years in the US and around the globe, we are proud of Thomas' longevity and look forward to many more years of being on track for success!"

The NPD number-one preschool toy property distinction is the latest accolade for Thomas & Friends following an award-winning 65th anniversary year in 2010. Most recently, the Toy Industry Association announced in November 2010 that Thomas & Friends™ was nominated for 2011's Toy Property of the Year. Furthermore, Thomas & Friends products have also been selected for 2010 Oppenheimer Platinum Awards and 2010 Parents' Choice Awards.

Throughout 2010, HIT Entertainment, owner of the Thomas & Friends brand, celebrated the 65th anniversary with several exciting new partnerships and new product releases. In 2010, Thomas & Friends launched new toy lines with global partners Fisher-Price, Mega, and Learning Curve; a new website that was recognized for a 2010 Webby Award; and a new television series in CG-animation on PBS KIDS®. Additionally, the first Thomas & Friends mobile applications for iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad® were launched last year, and longstanding publishing partner Random House launched Thomas & Friends titles in eBook format. HIT Entertainment's successful Day Out With Thomas™ Tour, in its 15th year, received over one million visitors.

As well as being the US and UK's #1 preschool property, Thomas & Friends sits in pole position in other key markets around the world. These include Germany, Australia, Korea and Japan.

About HIT Entertainment
HIT Entertainment 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 Chapman Entertainment's Fifi and the Flowertots™ and Roary the Racing Car™ in North America. HIT also acts as representative for The Wiggles® in the UK. Launched in 1989, HIT's lines of business span television and video production, content distribution, publishing, consumer products licensing and live events and has operations in the UK, US, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. HIT is a part-owner of US-based preschool channel, PBS KIDS Sprout?. For more information, visit www.hitentertainment.com.

1 Source: The NPD Group / Consumer Tracking Service

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