May 1, 2009

Hasbro, Discovery plan new kids’ channel

U.S. game maker Hasbro says it has teamed with the Discovery Channel to produce a new cable channel aimed at children 14 and younger.

Hasbro, which makes such games and toys as Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, G.I. Joe and Transformers, will put up $300 million to own a 50 percent stake in the new Discovery Kids Network, which will be a rebranded version of Discovery Communications Inc.'s current Discovery Kids channel, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The move comes after an earlier effort to pump up Discovery Kids through a partnership with NBC failed, the newspaper said.

TV is the next step for us to relaunch and reinvent our brands, Hasbro Chief Executive Brian Goldner said in a statement, making clear that merchandising will play a significant role in the news channel.

The merchandising plan has brought protests from the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. The campaign's director, Susan Linn, told the Times, This partnership represents a new low in children's television, a network devoted to showing infomercials for Hasbro's toys and games.