Entertainment Rights Plc announced that it has secured a commission from the BBC for a further 28 episodes of POSTMAN PAT. This agreement takes the total number of episodes and specials licensed to the BBC to 114 and adds to the long-term visibility of POSTMAN PAT on the children's broadcast platforms, BBC and CBeebies.
This commission follows the huge success of the first new series in more than 10 years, which aired on the BBC in autumn 2004 to critical acclaim attracting an audience of more than 25 million viewers in its initial six-week run. The second new series, currently in production, is due to air in fall 2005.
POSTMAN PAT will be produced by the UK's leading stop-frame animation studio, Cosgrove Hall, under the direction of ER and the BBC and will air on the BBC from autumn 2006. Production of this latest series will commence later this year and POSTMAN PAT fans can look forward to the introduction of exciting new sets and characters.
Jane Smith, group commercial director, Entertainment Rights, said, "We are delighted to be continuing our strong relationship with the BBC on POSTMAN PAT. This commission is extremely significant as it underlines the BBC's belief in the appeal of Postman Pat and our track record in producing sought after, popular programming relevant to today's pre-schoolers."
Michael Carrington, head of CBBC Animation & Acquisitions, added, "For CBBC it's all about the program -- strong stories with high quality animation. In POSTMAN PAT we have both and I'm sure the CBeebies audiences are going to approve of all new episodes."
In addition, Entertainment Rights has signed a major broadcast deal with Time Warner's HBO for leading pre-school brand POSTMAN PAT to appear on U.S. television. The series will launch on HBO Family. This platform gives the brand access to more than 35 million homes in the U.S. The series will air daily beginning in autumn 2005 and will be broadcast in both English and Spanish.
The acquisition of POSTMAN PAT by HBO for U.S. broadcast represents a significant milestone in the global rollout of the brand. ER is developing a comprehensive consumer products program for the pre-school favorite and will commence full brand rollout in the U.S. in 2006.
Smith said, "We are delighted to be working with HBO who share our belief in Postman Patï¿½s inherent appeal to pre-schoolers everywhere and we are confident that through this broadcast platform POSTMAN PAT will realize his potential of becoming a classic childrenï¿½s favorite in the U.S.
"This agreement is significant for us as it not only adds to ER's growing business in the U.S. following the acquisition of the Filmation Library in April 2004, but is also another step towards establishing ER as a company that consistently delivers high quality programming which is both creatively and commercially viable for U.S. audiences."
Dolores Morris, vp, HBO Family added, "POSTMAN PAT is a truly creative property and we are truly thrilled to be ER's chosen launch partner in the U.S. POSTMAN PAT naturally complements our strong children's programming lineup and we are sure he'll be loved by children and parents alike."
Moreover, POSTMAN PAT will be saying "Ciao!" to Italian fans as he makes his debut on Rai Tre in autumn 2005. Following the January 2005 launch of the POSTMAN PAT series, which performed successfully on Italian pay TV channel Rai Sat Raggazzi, Italy's leading public broadcaster, Rai, has acquired a 26x15 series and four specials to air on Rai Tre's highest rating kids block "Domenica Pap" (which airs BOB THE BUILDER), in fall 2005.
POSTMAN PAT or 'L POSTINO PAT as he is known in Italy will arrive in more than 26 million Italian households. The strong Rai platform will support the coordinated brand rollout throughout Italy and ER will now appoint licensing and merchandising and DVD/video partners in the territory to develop the strategic rollout of product.
Commenting on the agreement, Chloe van den Berg, director of international, said, "We're delighted to be partnering with such an established and prestigious partner as Rai in Italy. This agreement demonstrates our ability to produce top quality children's and family entertainment which is in demand around the world and also underlines the expertise of our international sales team in placing our properties with prime broadcasters around the globe."
Entertainment Rights (www.entertainmentrights.com) is one of the U.K.'s leading specialist media groups focused on the ownership of high quality childrenï¿½s and family programming, characters and brands.