Unique Joint Venture Will Create a First-Choice Channel and Companion Video-on-Demand Programming
Philadelphia, London, New York and Alexandria, VA (October 20, 2004) — Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), HIT Entertainment PLC (London Stock Exchange: HTE), PBS and Sesame Workshop today announced plans to launch a 24-hour digital cable television channel for preschool-aged children and companion video-on-demand (VOD) service. The ground-breaking channel will bring together some of the best-known and well-respected shows in children's programming — a blend of classic and contemporary favorites — that celebrate the wonder of early childhood, inviting families to experience the joy of learning, playing and smiling together.
The channel represents an unprecedented partnership between Comcast, the leading U.S. cable provider; PBS, the renowned public service broadcaster; and HIT Entertainment and Sesame Workshop, two of the leading providers of quality entertainment for young children. The channel will feature an extensive library selected from more than 4,000 episodes from PBS, Sesame Workshop and HIT - including a rich treasury of children's favorites, such as Bob the Builder; Barney; Thomas & Friends; Angelina Ballerina; and additional PBS KIDS titles. Beginning in early 2005, the companion VOD package will be available to cable companies in the United States and will include more than 50 hours of programming for preschoolers and their families. The 24x7 digital cable channel is expected to launch in fall 2005.
"We're thrilled to announce this partnership with the leading providers of family-friendly, educational children's programming," said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer 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. We're 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."
"The new channel brings together a wonderful lineup of children's content that will delight and inspire young children and their families for generations to come," said Peter Orton, Chairman of HIT Entertainment. "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 and 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 Entertainment 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 and 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."
A Note for Parents
About Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit educational organization making a meaningful difference in children's lives around the world. Founded in 1968, the Workshop changed television forever with the legendary Sesame Street. Today, the Workshop continues to innovate on behalf of children in 120 countries, using its proprietary research methodology to ensure its programs and products are engaging and enriching. Sesame Workshop is behind award-winning programs like Dragon Tales and Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat and ground breaking multimedia productions in South Africa, Egypt and Russia. As a nonprofit, Sesame Workshop puts the proceeds it receives from sales of Sesame Street, Dragon Tales and Sagwa products right back into its educational projects for children around the world. Find the Workshop online at www.sesameworkshop.org.
PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 349 public noncommercial television stations, reaching over 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. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web sites — pbskids.org and pbskidsgo.org — continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet, averaging more than 30 million unique visitors and 380 million page views per month in 2004. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.
About HIT Entertainment PLC
Established in 1989, HIT Entertainment PLC (www.hitentertainment.com) is one of the world's leading pre-school children's entertainment producers and rights owners. With operations in the US, UK, Canada, Japan and Germany, the company's activities span television production and distribution, home entertainment, consumer products, publishing and live events. HIT's portfolio of internationally renowned children's brands, such as Bob the Builder, Barney, Thomas & Friends, Pingu, Rubbadubbers and Angelina Ballerina are enjoyed by children in over 180 countries. In the US, UK and Canada, HIT acts as a representative for the popular preschool property, The Wiggles. Additionally, HIT owns the Guinness World Records publishing and television property. HIT is committed to providing enduring entertainment that supports the values of devoted caregivers and empowers young children with a positive approach to life.
Comcast Corporation (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 United States, serving more than 21 million cable television customers and more than 6 million high-speed Internet customers. The Company's 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 A common stock and Class A Special common stock trade on The Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbols CMCSA and CMCSK, respectively.
HIT Entertainment PLC:
Simon Forrest (London)
Nicole Blake (New York)