Soaring Peppa Pig boosts eOne results

US master toy to be signed soon, as show's Nick Jr debut goes down a storm with audiences.
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Entertainment One has posted an impressive set of preliminary results for the year ending March 31st 2011 - boosted in no small part by pre-school hit Peppa Pig.

Revenue for the period was up 12 per cent to £470 million, while profit before tax rose almost 40 per cent to £32.3 million.

In the firm's Family business, Peppa Pig was the undoubted star. Production is underway on series five and all scripts have now been received for series six. Delivery to broadcasters is expected during 2011 and 2012.

In the UK, Peppa Pig became the number one pre-school licensed property in 2010, with Peppa Pig World opening at Paultons Family Theme Park in Hampshire in April.

Initial audience figures following the show's debut on Nick Jr in the US are strong. In the first seven weeks of broadcast, the show already ranks in the channel's top ten, achieving higher ratings in its timeslot than both Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel.

Notably, the show averaged more than 500,000 viewers in the two to five year-old age group, which was 23 per cent more than the show in the same timeslot previously.

It is anticipated that a toy deal will be concluded shortly and that merchandise will be on US store shelves in time for Christmas 2012.

Elsewhere in the Family division, Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom continues to make good progress. The first scripts for the second series of 52 episodes have now been delivered, while the licensing programme will be extended into categories including stationery, party products, toys, confectionery and accessories.

Activity is also increasing in the Family business, with a number of other shows now in development with a range of international broadcasters. It is anticipated that the first commissions will begin later this year.

Speaking about the firm's overall performance, CEO Darren Throop said: "This year has seen a number of significant milestones for Entertainment One which have helped the group deliver another strong financial performance."

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