HIT Entertainment was originally formed as Henson International Television (hit!) in 1983 as a branch of the Jim Henson Company in order to coordinate the co-production of Fraggle Rock in London. The subsidary was later reincorporated and sold; it is now owned by Mattel.

Headquartered in London, HIT currently owns the Thomas and Friends, Barney & Friends, and Bob the Builder franchises, among others. The company also co-founded US cable network PBS Kids Sprout, with NBC/Universal, PBS, and Sesame Workshop. With Mattel's acquisition of HIT, that stake is retained by HIT's former parent company, Apax.

In April 2004, the Jim Henson Company signed a five-year agreement that gave HIT distribution rights of a large portion of the company's "family showcase" media catalogue. In 2006, HIT partnered with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for distribution of their DVD titles[1] and in 2008, distribution was taken over by Lionsgate.[2]

HIT produced several Henson VHS and DVD releases, including such shows as Fraggle Rock, Animal Jam, Mother Goose Stories and Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, several with newly produced bonus features.

HIT also co-produced the Henson television series Frances and retains distribution rights.

Company history

HIT (Henson International Television) was originally established as an international distribution arm of Jim Henson Productions. The division was later reincorporated as HIT Communications plc. Following the death of Jim Henson in 1990, the business was sold off to several members of the company's management, led by Peter Orton (1943-2007), and renamed HIT Entertainment to prevent any future confusion between the two companies.

Apax Partners acquired the company in May 2005.

In October 2011, it was announced that American toy company Mattel had concluded a deal to purchase Hit Entertainment for $680 million. PBS Kids Sprout was not included in the deal, and that stake is retained by Apax Partners.

On February 1, 2012, the merger was completed, and HIT Entertainment became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mattel.



Henson titles listed in the HIT! Catalogue[3] (April 1, 2004 - March 31, 2009)


  1. Fox Home Entertainment and HIT Entertainment Reach Distribution Accord January 1, 2006
  2. Lionsgate® Selected to Distribute HIT Entertainment's Premiere Family Entertainment Library in North America
  3. HIT Entertainment Catalogue

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