Discovery expands with Hasbro

Discovery Communications has formed a joint-venture with toy company Hasbro Inc, best known for the Monopoly, Mr Potato Head, Trivial Pursuit, My Little Pony and Pokemon brands. The new TV network, as yet to be named, will replace Discovery’s Kids Network.

Hasbro buys a 50% stake in the revised channel, while the channel will absorb the assets and distribution rights of Discovery Kids in the US. In addition Discovery will receive $300m. A dedicated web-site is also part of the package.

“New programming will be based on brands such as ROMPER ROOM, TRIVIAL PURSUIT, SCRABBLE, CRANIUM, MY LITTLE PONY, G.I. JOE, GAME OF LIFE, TONKA and TRANSFORMERS, among many others. The TV network and online presence also will include content from Discovery's extensive library of award-winning children's educational programming, such as BINDI THE JUNGLE GIRL, ENDURANCE, TUTENSTEIN, HI-5, FLIGHT 29 DOWN and PEEP AND THE BIG WIDE WORLD, as well as programming from third-party producers,” said Discovery.

Discovery Kids will stay on air until the new branding is in place and the deal closes. Discovery Kids will also remain as an overseas channel.

"Hasbro continues to evolve as a company with an unwavering vision of reimagining the potential of our incredible portfolio of brands well beyond traditional toys and games," said Brian Goldner, Hasbro's President and CEO. "Today, consumers are embracing our powerful brands through unique and immersive entertainment and educational experiences in a number of areas, including movies and new digital platforms.”

"We believe the time is right for Hasbro to take the next step into television through our partnership with Discovery Communications," continued Goldner. "David Zaslav and his talented team have the experience, track record and ambition necessary to make this joint venture a long-term success as we build this network. We look forward to creating fun, stimulating and educational content that will allow us to deliver all-new brand experiences to the young and 'young at heart' - anywhere and anytime they want."

"This joint venture reinforces Discovery's strategy to develop strong brands, maximize the potential of our extensive distribution in the U.S. and work with the highest quality content partners to create long-term value," said David Zaslav, President/CEO of Discovery Communications. "Brian Goldner and the dynamic management team at Hasbro have a long track record of developing well-respected quality brands that entertain and encourage creative play. The combined assets of both partners provide a compelling platform for building a trusted children's destination that engages and enlightens a thirsty and growing audience."

The joint venture's rebranded network is expected to debut in late 2010 reaching approximately 60m households in the US with programming geared to boys and girls 14 years of age and under.