Teletubbies Say 'Again Again' to PBS Kids Online

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Relaunched Teletubbies Web Site Includes Many New Features Especially Designed for Younger Web Surfers


URL: pbskids.org/teletubbies/

ALEXANDRIA, VA., July 31, 2000 ö The Teletubbies -- Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po -- make their cyber debuts this week in a relaunched version of their popular PBS KIDS® Online Web site (pbskids.org/teletubbies/). The product of the most extensive testing and research PBS has ever done in connection with a children's online destination, the new site allows young visitors to interact with Teletubby favorites in ways that will help children learn how to listen, build their curiosity and expand their imaginations.

The first television series created specifically for very young children, TELETUBBIES airs on PBS KIDS, the home of television's most-acclaimed lineup of children's programs. TELETUBBIES was created and developed by the award-winning team of Anne Wood CBE and Andrew Davenport of Ragdoll Ltd. (U.K.) and is presented by The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company. The unique format of the series encourages young viewers to observe, copy and enjoy the characters' actions by incorporating movement, repetition and simple word and phrases.

The new Teletubbies Web site's navigation and design were constructed after a series of focus groups and one-on-one testing were conducted to answer the question "how do very young computer users move around a Web site?"

Children coming to the site for the first time are given a choice between "inside" and "outside" activities, all of which provide interactivity at the touch of a key-press, in addition to a mouse click, for Web surfers who haven't yet mastered the mouse.

Those venturing "outside" can choose from a "find the bunny" activity and Teletubby tummy videos (taken from the television program) or listen to voice trumpet audio nursery rhymes. "Inside" visitors can pick from a tubby Custard Game or choose to engage in online coloring of their favorite Teletubby, among many other features.

In addition, local TV schedules with episode descriptions and the philosophy behind the Web site and television program will be offered for parents and caregivers.

"The site is constructed to help young children increase their confidence and encourage interactivity with their caregiver," said Michelle Miller, manager, PBS KIDS Online. "It's designed to be entirely comfortable and age-appropriate for a child between the ages of 1 and 4."

"Teletubbies continues to be one of the highest rated programs among mothers of young children," said Tina Waganer, director of Affiliate Relations, The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company. "PBS's new Teletubbies site will extend the parent/child experience of the program beyond the broadcast."

Appropriately, when the child visiting the new Teletubbies Web site is ready to leave, he or she will be able to click on the Bye Bye button, and watch as Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po wave "bye bye," just as it is done on the television program.

Ragdoll Ltd. was founded by acclaimed children's television program maker Anne Wood in 1984 with the motto: ãRagdoll connecting with children everywhere.ä Worldwide, Ragdoll-produced series for pre-school aged children are shown in more than 120 countries and territories, and in the UK are screened by the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Independent Television Network. Titles include Teletubbies, Rosie and Jim, Tots TV, Brum, and Open A Door, and recent awards include the BAFTA (British Emmy) Award for Best Children's Series, Grand Prize at the 24th Japan Prize International Contest in Tokyo for an episode of Teletubbies, three consecutive Indies awards and the award to Anne Wood of Fellowship CBE of the Royal Television Society. The company is based in Stratford upon Avon, England.

The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company was launched to offer creators of unique properties a strong, dedicated partnership for production, distribution, licensing, and marketing, and was founded in 1995 by Kenn Viselman. Whether it's on the big screen, small screen or off the screen, The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company is known for inspiring ãSafehaven Entertainmentú -- maintaining the highest levels of consideration for positive parenting while enhancing children's lives. The company's philosophy is ãTo be free to learn, Children must be free to dream!ä The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company is a member company of Handleman Company (NYSE:"HDL").

Teletubbies is sponsored on PBS KIDS by Payless ShoeSource, Inc., and KBKids.com.

PBS.org, PBS's award-winning site on the World Wide Web, produces high-quality Web programming as it pioneers the convergence of television and the Internet. PBS ONLINE features more than 85,000 pages of content as well as companion Web sites for nearly 400 PBS programs and specials. In January 2000, Yahoo! put PBS.org at the top of its list of the best Web sites of all time.

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 350 public television stations. A trusted community resource, PBS uses the power of noncommercial television, the Internet and other media to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services that inform, inspire and delight. Available to 99 percent of American homes with televisions and to an increasing number of digital multimedia households, PBS serves nearly 100 million people each week.


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Kevin Dando