Comcast Corp., HIT Entertainment Plc., PBS and Sesame Workshop today (Oct. 20, 2004) announced plans to launch a 24-hour digital cable television channel for preschool children and a companion video-on-demand (VOD) service. The channel will bring together some of the best-known classic and contemporary childrens shows and is expected to launch in fall 2005.
This unprecedented partnership between Comcast, the leading U.S. cable provider; PBS, the renowned public service broadcaster; and HIT Ent. (U.K. based) and Sesame Workshop, two of the leading providers of quality entertainment for young children. Programmers have an extensive library to choose from more than 4,000 episodes from PBS, Sesame Workshop and HIT including childrens favorites, such a BOB THE BUILDER, BARNEY, THOMAS & FRIENDS, ANGELINA BALLERINA and additional PBS KIDS titles.
In early 2005, the companion VOD package will be available to cable companies in the U.S. and will include more than 50 hours of programming for preschoolers and their families.
Were thrilled to announce this partnership with the leading providers of family-friendly, educational childrens programming, said Brian L. Roberts, chairman/ceo of Comcast. This channel will be a resource for parents and caregivers, who will be able to depend on it to always offer age-appropriate viewing options that present positive, enriching messages. Were committed to launching this new channel in a significant number of our markets, and we will work with other cable and satellite companies to reach as many customers as possible.
Comcast just launched the Comcast Kids Channel, a safe interactive environment designed for todays broadband family, featuring premier content from Disney Online.
The new channel brings together a wonderful lineup of childrens content that will delight and inspire young children and their families for generations to come, said Peter Orton, chairman of HIT Ent. This is a transforming deal for HIT as we make our first move into broadcasting. And we are delighted to be in partnership with Comcast, PBS and Sesame Workshop, each of whom brings their own tremendous and unique strengths to this ground-breaking venture.
PBS is committed to maintaining its leadership role in delivering the best educational programming to as many children and parents as possible, said Pat Mitchell, president/ceo of PBS. This unique public/private partnership not only assures a strong, viable PBS KIDS programming block on PBS stations, available free over-the-air, but also extends PBS' mission into different platforms. We are happy to be in a mutually beneficial partnership with Sesame Workshop, HIT Ent. and Comcast.
For 36 years, Sesame Workshop has achieved enormous success in fulfilling its mission to use television and other media to help children reach their highest potential, said Gary E. Knell, president/ceo, of the nonprofit educational organization Sesame Workshop. We are thrilled to be joining with our primary broadcaster, PBS, and extending our footprint together through this exciting new venture with leading content and distribution partners."
Founded in 1968 in New York City, Sesame Workshop (www.sesameworkshop.org) first developed the legendary SESAME STREET TV program. The Workshop is behind award-winning programs like DRAGON TALES and SAGWA, THE CHINESE SIAMESE CAT and ground breaking multi-media productions in South Africa, Egypt and Russia.
Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, PBS (www. pbs.org) is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves Americas 349 public noncommercial television stations, reaching more than 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions.
Established in 1989, HIT Ent. (www.hitentertainment.com) is one of the worlds leading preschool childrens entertainment producers and rights owners. With operations in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan and Germany, the companys activities span television production and distribution, home entertainment, consumer products, publishing and live events. HIT's famous characters which include classic global brands such as BOB THE BUILDER, BARNEY, THOMAS & FRIENDS, PINGU, KIPPER and ANGELINA BALLERINA, which are enjoyed by children in more than 150 countries and territories.
Comcasts premier broadband online service, www.comcast.net, features news, weather and stocks, plus exclusive broadband content with streaming video and high-quality sound. Valuable on-demand content that can be easily searched and viewed on the site through The Fan, which contains news clips, interview segments, short animations and movie trailers.
Forty percent of Comcast High-Speed Internet households include children. Comcast Corp. (www.comcast.com) is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable networks, and in the provision of programming content. The company is the largest provider of cable and broadband services in the U.S., serving more than 21 million cable television customers and more than six million high-speed Internet customers. Its content businesses include majority ownership of Comcast Spectacor, Comcast SportsNet, E! Entertainment Television, Style Network, G4techTV, The Golf Channel, International Channel and Outdoor Life Network. Comcast Class.