HIT Entertainment, a leading provider of quality children's entertainment and owner of the world's #1 preschool brand, Thomas & Friends, is marking Thomas & Friends' 65th anniversary with all new digital extensions.
Press Release from HIT Entertainment
NEW YORK - July 14, 2010 - HIT Entertainment, a leading provider of quality children's entertainment and owner of the world's #1 preschool brand, Thomas & Friends, is marking Thomas & Friends' 65th anniversary with all new digital extensions. To complement the new CG-animated television series launching in 2010 and to provide the most comprehensive and compelling Thomas online experience for current and prospective Thomas fans, the brand's website, www.ThomasandFriends.com, has undergone a complete redesign. For the first time, the site includes a section that can be personalized for each visitor, as well as new activities and videos in the CG art style, and an enhanced Parents section. The site was recognized as a 2010 Webby Awards Official Honoree in the Best Home Welcome Page category awarded by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
Greeted by Thomas on the homepage, users will enjoy a new, interactive navigation, narrated by Sir Topham Hatt. The new navigation directs users to enhanced areas featuring the engines, activities, games and more. The homepage now features a video player showcasing the latest and greatest Thomas & Friends videos with CG content and exclusive online interstitials.
A key feature of the redesign of www.ThomasandFriends.com introduces "My Station", a customizable area that users can access by registering. Kids can customize their My Station page with their favorite characters and videos. My Station also provides access to exclusive content and activities. New for Thomas families is a Parents section offering the latest Thomas & Friends news, as well as suggestions for family activities, Thomas themed birthday parties and special articles.
Another major enhancement to the site is an all-new Engine Depot that highlights the breadth of Thomas' world and features 90 characters each of which has his/her own page with descriptions and fun facts. In this area, fans will hear the top 8 engines speak in their own voices -- a first for the website, and a complement to the new television series where viewers now hear Thomas and his engine friends speak in their own voices.
Also called out on ThomasandFriends.com is a new 'mobile' landing page, which provides links to the Thomas & Friends Game Pack mobile application (available for $2.99 in the Apple iTunes App Store). Launched earlier this year, the Thomas & Friends Game Pack received the "Parents' Choice Recommended Award" by the Parents' Choice Foundation. HIT plans to launch a second mobile app for iPhone and iPod Touch later this summer.
"HIT continually looks for new ways to deliver the Thomas experience to kids and families," said Natasha Fishman, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Management and Digital Media, HIT Entertainment. "For the Thomas site redesign, we paid particular attention to the Home Page, Engine Depot and My Station which are designed to provide a more in-depth and personalized online Thomas experience. We have also found that the appeal of Thomas extends naturally to mobile apps with the Thomas Game Pack for iPhone as kids and families consume brands across platforms. We are excited to continue on our path of expanding Thomas further within the digital space."
About HIT EntertainmentHIT Entertainment is one of the world's leading independent children's entertainment producers and rights-owners. HIT's portfolio includes properties, such as Barney(tm), 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, as well as Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Timmy Time and Aardman Classics from Aardman Animations. 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, and international preschool channel JimJam, (outside of the US, UK and China). For more information, visit www.hitentertainment.com.