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Hasbro to Launch Direct Link to Your Kids' Cerebral Cortex

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Kids are smart. They know when they're being patronized and pandered to by a multinational corporation. They're impervious to programming that blatantly markets a toy and sacrifices quality writing for advertisements. If they catch even a whiff of corporate synergy or cheap marketing tactics, they immediately stop watching television and vow to never give patronage to the offending parties.

Incidentally, everything I just wrote is false.

Kids are greedy, impulsive balls of id -- extremely susceptible to the marketing tactics of toymakers. Mattel, Disney, Nickelodeon, and Toys R US are well aware of this fact and aim to exploit a child's frantic stimuli with hours of product-hawking television. And taking a cue from Disney's TV division, Hasbro is joining the multimedia fray and teaming up with Discovery Communications to launch a cable network that targets the rampant materialism of kids aged two to 11.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the new network -- dubbed The Hub -- will take over the low-rated Discovery Kids network and debut in 60 million homes on October 10. But between Cartoon Network, Sprout, and the aforementioned Disney and Nickelodeon channels, consumer advocates aren't happy that yet another child-oriented network is serving up more toy promotion.

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

But Margaret Loesch, chief executive of The Hub, is well aware of the criticism and aims to limit the length of commercial time to six minutes during an hour of television. As for shows centered around a toy line, Loesch scoffs at their suggestibility. "There have been many shows created just to try to help move toy lines that have come and gone very quickly," she said, adding that less than 20% of The Hub's programs is based on Hasbro toys.

You can only guess which ones will be rerun the most.
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