HIT Entertainment PLC was established in 1989, and was originally the international distribution arm of Jim Henson Productions called Henson International Television. However, following the death of Jim Henson in 1990, the business was sold to several members of the company's management and renamed HIT Entertainment to prevent any future confusion between the two companies.
HIT is privately held. Sunshine Acquisition, a company set up by Apax Partners’ Funds, closed acquisition of HIT Entertainment on May 26, 2005 £489.4 million.
HIT's catalogue of characters include Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, Barney, Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!, Kipper, Angelina Ballerina, Rubbadubbers, Pingu, and The Wiggles. HIT also owns redistribution rights to several other shows.
HIT purchased Gullane Entertainment in 2002, in the process becoming owner of the Guinness Book of Records and Lyrick Studios (who were the US distributors of The Wiggles and the owners of Barney) in 2002. For a short time, HIT Entertainment distributed Big Idea Productions' VeggieTales videos, until Big Idea's eventual sale to Classic Media in 2003.
Since the 2006 multimillion-dollar, multi-year agreement, exclusive home entertainment marketing, sales and distribution rights to HIT's children's programming are currently distributed in the United States and Canada by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
HIT Entertainment is a fully integrated studio, that incorporates production, world-wide distribution, UK home entertainment, publishing, licensing and merchandising and HIT Wildlife, the company's natural history arm.
HIT currently sells programming to over 120 countries. The chairman of HIT Entertainment is Greg Dyke, the former Director-General of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the CEO is Bruce Steinberg, formerly the CEO of what was once known as Fox Kids Europe and is now known as Jetix Europe.
List of shows
- Angelina Ballerina (airs on PBS Kids Sprout and Nick Jr. UK)
- Animal Stories (Cartoonito In UK)
- Art Attack for SMG Productions (airs on CITV)
- Barney (airs on PBS Kids, Cartoonito and PBS Kids Sprout)
- Bob the Builder (airs on PBS Kids Sprout, CBeebies and Nick Jr. UK)
- Fireman Sam (CBeebies UK, PBS Kids Sprout US)
- Kipper (syndication/PBS Kids Sprout, and Nick Jr. UK))
- Pingu (PBS Kids Sprout In USA, CBeebies in UK, and Discovery Kids)
- Rubbadubbers (airs on CBeebies)
- Sooty (CITV in the UK)
- Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends (PBS Kids Sprout, Nick Jr. Australia, Nick Jr. UK and Playhouse Disney)
- The Wiggles (Playhouse Disney and Nick Jr. UK)
- Wishbone (PBS Kids)