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Peter Orton a HIT with lifetime achievement award

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CANNES: One of the highlights of MIPTV 2005 featuring MILIA takes place tonight when Reed MIDEM honours kids' programming major HIT Entertainment's founder and chairman Peter Orton with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award comes in the wake of the announcement of the pending sale of HIT and the launch of the company's first channel, Sprout, whose VOD service launched on the Comcast network on 5 April.

Sprout's linear service, which will be the first pre-school channel in the US, takes off in September.

In 1989, Orton launched HIT Entertainment, a British-based distribution company specialising in high-quality animation programming. Having built a children's catalogue of over 1,000 hours of animation programming, HIT moved into production in 1996, funding the development via a launch on London's Alternative Investment Market.

HIT was responsible for bringing three much-loved children's books to TV and video - Brambly Hedge, Percy the Park Keeper and Kipper. Orton then gave the greenlight to start developing new characters in-house, including the international success Bob the Builder.

From a pure distribution company, HIT Entertainment has grown into a production entity, complete with its own animation studios, a major licensing, merchandising and consumer products provider. HIT Entertainment specialisation continues to be in quality, preschool children's programming.

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