Press Release from HIT Entertainment
London/Sydney, 5 September 2011: HIT Entertainment, one of the world’s leading independent children’s entertainment producers and rights owners, and Haven Licensing, have today announced the appointment of Big Balloon as Australian toy licensee for popular pre-school brands Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder.
As part of the agreement Big Balloon will distribute the highly successful and award winning Character Options range of Fireman Sam and new Bob the Builder products locally.
The Fireman Sam Character Options toy range, based on the CG animated series, has already enjoyed huge success in the UK. It became one of the standout pre-school toy ranges of 2010, with the Deluxe Fire Station Playset chosen as a 2010 Dream Toy as well as 'Pre-school Toy of the Year'.
The new Fireman Sam toy range will include playsets, vehicles and figurines and is launching into TRU stores this week followed by Big W in October.
Tom Punch, Managing Director at Haven Licensing, said, “We are delighted to sign this licensing agreement with Big Balloon. The new toy range has been extremely successful in the UK and overseas markets and we are confident Big Balloon’s strong retail relationships will extend the brands reach into new channels and provide a strong platform for growth. The timing is perfect, we have the new CG animated Fireman Series currently airing daily on ABC for Kids and DVD sales have grown 71.4% further demonstrating Sam's growing popularity in Australia”.
The new Bob the Builder toy range will be available from the 1st January 2012. The brand is well-established in Australia and the recently launched new CGI series is enjoying strong ratings on ABC for Kids. In July an average 202K* kids tuned in daily to watch Bob’s new Ready, Steady, Build CGI animated series at 9.10am.
Chris Loverso, Sales and Marketing Director at Big Balloon, added, “We are extremely excited to be appointed master toy licensee for both Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder. Bob is one of the most recognised pre-school brands and will be a cornerstone brand in Big Balloon’s portfolio for many years to come. We believe the new toy range represents a great opportunity to provide a fresh, new innovative toy line that appeals to preschoolers”.
Jon Owen, Senior Vice President HIT Brands – Global at HIT Entertainment, commented: “We’re delighted to see two of HIT’s most popular pre-school brands experiencing such fantastic success in Australia. Sam and Bob have not only enjoyed strong ratings on ABC for Kids, but now, with Big Balloon as Australian toy licensee, we are confident the toy range from Character Options is going to be equally well received by fans.”
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, 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 SproutSM. For more information, visit www.hitentertainment.com.