aNb Media News, May 27, 2010

HIT Realigns its Business

HIT Entertainment announced an internal realignment of its business units to increase its brand focus.

The realignment involves the creation of four new divisions that will form two new lines of business. The first is focusing on Thomas & Friends and the other on HIT Global Brands. The global brands refer to Angelina Ballerina, Barney, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, Pingu, and Rainbow Magic.

The Thomas & Friends line of business will comprise three divisions: the New York-based Thomas Americas headed by Pam Westman. This division will focus
on North and South America. There is the London-based Thomas EMEA headed by Rick Glankler. This will focus on the UK, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. The Hong Kong-based Thomas Asia will be headed by Antonio Huab. This will focus on Asia, including Australia and Japan. Westman, Glankler, and Huab will all report to Sangeeta Desai, HIT’s Chief Operating Officer.

The HIT Global Brands business will be managed from London by Jon Owen as one global division. He will also have local staff based in New York, London, and Hong Kong reporting to him. Owen will also report to Desai.

HIT’s finance, legal, HR, and IT groups will remain centralized staff units supporting both lines of business. These changes take effect immediately.

Kerr Departs Classic Media, Blake Promoted

Classic Media announced the upcoming departure of Andrew Kerr, current executive vice president, international marketing and consumer products. Kerr, based in the company’s London office, will continue in his role to the end of June 2010. He will then carry on providing nonexclusive consultancy for Classic Media. Kerr’s responsibilities will be assumed by Nicole Blake, who has been promoted to executive vice-president of marketing and consumer products.

HIT Expands into Latin America with Albavision

HIT Entertainment and Albavision (a free TV network of television and radio stations across Central and South America) have partnered for the first time to bring a HIT-branded preschool television block to free TV in 10 countries across Latin America. The 90-minute block debuted starting in early spring 2010 in Chile, Guatemala, Paraguay, Costa Rica, and Bolivia; and most recently in Argentina on May 1. Additional blocks will be added in Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru by this summer.

The block will feature more than 600 episodes from HIT’s library of preschool shows, such as Barney & Friends, Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, Pingu, and the new Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps series. Programs will air in Spanish.

The partnership follows on the heels of the first HIT branded block on free TV in Latin America that launched in 2009 on Mexico’s TV Azteca. HIT programs have aired in Latin America since 2001, and its broadcast presence on free TV, pay TV, and VOD has been steadily growing.

Hasbro Hires Waters

Hasbro, Inc., named Simon Waters as senior vice-president of global licensing. He joins Hasbro from The Walt Disney Company, where he served most recently as vice-president, global franchise development and strategic marketing.

Waters will be based at Hasbro’s Los Angeles office and will report directly to John Frascotti, Hasbro’s Global Chief Marketing Officer.

Waters also held executive positions at Universal Music Group and Bertelsmann Music Group earlier in his career.

Additional Licensees Board the Dinosaur Train

The Jim Henson Company announced several new licensees for its property Dinosaur Train over the past year, bringing the total number of licensing partners to 23 in the U.S.

Most recently to join Dinosaur Train’s domestic partner line-up in 2010 are DecoPac for cake toppers; Anagram for balloons; Cranston for fabric; Kidz World, Inc., for upholstered furniture; Pacific Play Tents for tents, slumber bags, and folding animal chairs; Publications International for sound books and look-and-find
books; and VM Global Manufacturing for scooters, skates, and bikes.

Dinosaur Train merchandise will be on shelf later this summer with a full assortment of products available for the holiday season.

Mel’s Drive-In Partners with Vita Foods

Stone America Licensing announced that current client Mel’s Drive-In has signed its first food licensing agreement with Vita Foods to develop a line of branded burger sauce and seasoning, chili sauce and seasoning, dessert toppings, and pancake syrups. The Mel’s Drive-In line will feature various flavors that the Mel’s Drive-In consumer has enjoyed at Mel’s over the years. Vita is expecting to release its Mel’s Drive-In branded products to the trade in Q1 2011.