The Hub Network Pre-Opening

17/10/2010 0 By Administratus Prime

Toy brands are ubiquitous in the American marketplace outside of the products themselves.

They are promoted on cereal boxes and fruit snacks. Saturday-morning cartoon shows. Lunch boxes. And, of course, toy lines are the subject of major movie releases under franchises including Transformers and GI Joe.

So what difference could it possibly make if Hasbro, the toy giant, and Discovery Communications, the educational programmer, launch a TV channel where some of the programming will be based on toys? And into a kids’-television market that offers multiple channels of alternative programming? Plenty, if you listen to critics of The Hub, the new Hasbro-Discovery network that goes live on Sunday (10-10-10).


What’s all the hubbub about The Hub? Media watchdogs allege that network will be little more than a gussied-up conduit for promotions of Hasbro toy brands including not only GI Joe and Transformers but also My Little Pony, Pound Puppies and Barbie dolls.

“The notion of a toy company owning a television channel for the sole purpose of promoting their toys is egregious practice,” Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, tells the Los Angeles Times.


Of course, Linn admitted to the newspaper that she hadn’t yet seen any of the new network’s shows. And that admission underscores a point: Does anybody really expect the capable brand stewards at Hasbro and Discovery to hazard the introduction of a TV network that would be one long string of product placements?

They know that such content wouldn’t last long in what has become a hypercompetitive kids-programming marketplace, with Nickelodeon and a raft of Disney channels already well established. So they’re not doing it. Hasbro executives say that less than 20% of The Hub’s programming will be based on Hasbro toys and games.

Besides, does anybody think Disney isn’t promoting Disney toys, theme parks and other products with its own programming? So let The Hub take to the airwaves. Here’s betting a ride on My Little Pony that its critics will prove premature.