Reed MIDEM to honour Peter Orton with lifetime achievement award

MUMBAI: Reed MIDEM will honour HIT Entertainment founder and chairman Peter Orton with a Lifetime Achievement Award, at this year's MIPTV featuring MILIA audiovisual and digital content market to be held in Cannes, 11 April - 15 April this year. Orton will receive the award in Cannes on April 13.

"Peter Orton's reputation throughout the television industry is outstanding," noted Paul Zilk, chief executive officer of Reed MIDEM. "He has turned HIT Entertainment into a champion of high-quality children's television. He has been at the forefront of promoting children's programming throughout the world and it's a pleasure to be able to recognise Peter's career with this Lifetime Achievement Award."

"I am extremely grateful to Reed MIDEM for choosing me to receive this Lifetime Achievement Award. To be honoured by one's peers is an extremely humbling but wonderful experience. HIT's business, especially in the first 5 or 6 years, owes a huge debt of gratitude to Reed MIDEM. MIP and MIPCOM created and established an awareness of HIT that we could not have achieved if these two important television markets had not taken place. Our distribution and customer base was built to a large extent at these important markets. As we move into the digital age and the increasing importance of broadband, interactive and VOD, what were traditional television markets are adapting and becoming important venues to take our business into these exciting new areas," said Orton.

As Chairman of HIT Entertainment, Peter Orton recently transformed the company into a vertically-integrated content owner and broadcaster. In December 2004, HIT Entertainment announced plans to launch a 24-hour digital pre-school channel in the United States, in partnership with leading U.S. cable provider Comcast, public broadcaster PBS and internationally-renowned provider of children's programming Sesame Workshop. The new channel will begin broadcasting in September 2005, informs an official release.

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 television 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 and, starting in September 2005, will launch into the broadcasting business in the United States. HIT Entertainment continues to specialise in quality, pre-school children's programming, the release added.

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