NEW YORK: Hasbro is to buy a half share in Discovery Kids in a deal is worth $300m to Discovery Communications that will give toy giant Hasbro access to 60 million homes.

It's the most ambitious branded entertainment venture since greeting cards firm Hallmark set up its own promotional channel.

Hasbro is already heavily involved in films featuring its products, with forthcoming summer movies featuring Transformers and G.I. Joe and treatments in the pipeline for Clue, Monopoly and Stretch Armstrong.

Discovery has recently rebranded its Discovery Home Channel as Planet Green and Discovery Health is set to become the Oprah Whinfrey Channel in 2010.

Discovery president/ceo David Zaslav says of the Hasbro venture, “the combined assets of both partners provide a compelling platform for building a trusted children's destination that engages and enlightens a thirsty audience.”

Hasbro chief executive Brian Goldner sees entertainment as a way of extending the reach of the company's brands, saying, “we knew we needed to extend our value beyond our games.”

The move is bound to be controversial in some quarters and pressure group The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has already condemned the tie-up as “a new low in children's television, a network devoted to showing infomercials for Hasbro's toys and games.”

Data sourced from AdAge; additional content by WARC staff