Hasbro and Discovery join forces

New 50/50 venture to include TV network and website, as Hasbro continues to look beyond toy business.
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Toy company Hasbro is teaming up with Discovery Communications on a new joint venture which will include a television network and a website.

Both the network and the venture's online component will feature content from Hasbro's portfolio of entertainment and educational properties.

New programming will be based on brands such as Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, My Little Pony, GI Joe and Transformers among others.

Content from the Discovery library - such as Bindi the Jungle Girl and Hi-5 - will also be included, along with programming from third party producers.

"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."

David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications, added: "This joint venture reinforces Discovery's strategy to develop strong brands, maximise the potential of our extensive distribution in the US and work with the highest quality content partners to create long-term value."

At the closing of the transaction, Hasbro will purchase a 50 per cent stake in the venture, which will hold the assets related to Discovery Kids Network in the US, for which Discovery Communications will receive $300 million.

The joint venture's rebranded network is expected to debut in late 2010, reaching approximately 60 million Nielsen households in the US. Programming will be geared to children aged 14 and below. Merchandising opportunities associated with on-air content will also be available.

The network will continue to operate as Discovery Kids until the debut of the new channel and programming slate. Discovery Communications will retain the Discovery Kids brand for, among other things, its international networks and its licensing and merchandising business.

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