Hasbro and Discovery partner on new network for kids--watchdogs are skeptical

Toy company Hasbro, and cable newtork Discovery Communications are partnering on a new television network for kids called the Hub.

The cable and satellite television network say they'll feature original programming as well as content from Discovery’s library of children’s educational programming.

Unfortunately, even before the new network launches (on Sunday), critics are questioning whether the Hub isn't just a giant infomercial for Hasbro.

In response, The Hub appears to be bending over backwards to make sure the critics have no foundation for their compaints. For example, The Hub plans to carry only six minutes of commercials per hour in shows aimed at preschoolers, well below the FCC's limit of 12 minutes on weekdays and 10.5 minutes on weekends. The FCC also bans commercials during shows based on a toy or game, the FCC bars advertisements for that toy or game.

They also say the proportion of programs that the Hub will carry based on Hasbro toys and games is less than 20%.

Still critics are skeptical.

With shows based on toy lines G.I. Joe, Transformers, My Little Pony and Pound Puppies, watchdogs want to make sure the Hub plays by the rules.

"The notion of a toy company owning a television channel for the sole purpose of promoting their toys is egregious practice," said Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which has emerged as one of the Hub's harshest critics.

"Kids are not going to want to see 30-minute infomercials," said Discovery Chief Operating Officer Peter Liguori.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

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