As Hasbro prepares to debut its children’s cable-television network the Hub in partnership with co-owner Discovery Communications, some media watchdogs are taking notice of what they fear will be programming disguised as a giant commercial, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The network, which debuts Sunday, has shows based on Hasbro toys such as G.I. Joe and My Little Pony, the story says. "The notion of a toy company owning a television channel for the sole purpose of promoting their toys is egregious practice," says Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood director Susan Linn, according to the story. Linn said she hasn’t seen any of the shows.
Furthermore, according to the story, Margaret Loesch, president and CEO of The Hub said, " ‘There have been many shows created just to try to help move toy lines that have come and gone very quickly.’ The proportion of programs that the Hub will carry based on Hasbro toys and games is less than 20%, she said, ‘a very small piece of a much larger mosaic.’ "
Added Discovery Chief Operating Officer Peter Liguori, according to the story, ""Kids are not going to want to see 30-minute infomercials."
Also, it’s unclear whether the network’s link to Hasbro will bring scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators, the article notes. The Hub is seeking to assuage concerns by carrying six minutes of ads each hour in programs for preschoolers, below the Federal Communications Commission’s limit of 12 minutes during weekdays, the story notes.
Furthermore, Hub is on cable, not broadcast.