The Hub Hits Pay Dirt With Warren Buffett
There's a battle shaping up this fall between The Hub, a fledgling kids' network, and CNBC. Yes, Warren Buffett can do that.
When Buffett speaks, investors probe his every word, seeking tips on which stocks to short or precious metals to buy or CEOs to trust. Even with the likelihood all he'll say is "buy low and sell high," they don't want to risk missing a morsel.
Presumably, fundamental advice is all he'll offer as the star of a series on The Hub coming this fall. But can traders risk staying with "Closing Bell" and missing the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway?
The Hub, the joint venture between Discovery and Hasbro, targets kids 6 to 11 during the day and co-viewing with parents at night. The new animated series, the "Secret Millionaire's Club," has Buffett appearing in his own voice. It's an outgrowth of webisodes he's done in partnership with A Squared Entertainment.
With Buffett as the draw, it's curious why the series is not called the "Secret Billionaire's Club." Nonetheless, in the four specials The Hub has planned, Buffett will serve as an adviser to kids (the secret millionaires) as they look to solve a business conundrum. En route, he'll dole out some basic business tips and impart a broader lesson about life.
Judging by the webisodes, the shows should be stellar. With the animated Buffett in a blue suit, red tie and looking younger than he does in person, the shorts are entertaining and indeed offer advice kids can learn from.
The webisodes last about five minutes, while The Hub specials will fill a half hour.
One of the shorts - which can be viewed at smckids.com, where there is also a stock ticker -- is "Lemons to Lemonade." The storyline has one girl's friend looking to earn enough via a lemonade stand to pay for a school trip. But she's struggling.
The secret millionaires and Buffett break it down. The market is ripe, the price point is right, so what could the problem be?
With the investor extraordinaire's guidance, they begin to realize the stand is on a back street with little foot traffic.
"In order to establish a healthy customer base, a retail business has to have a good location," says Buffett, the owner of Dairy Queen, who has significant chunks of Coke and P&G. "Who do you think gets more business, a store on a side street or store on a main street?"
Eureka! The kids get it and move the business to a popular soccer field. Buffett-like returns come in.
"Remember if the people won't come to your business, bring you're business to the people," Buffett imparts.
He finishes with broader advice about the classroom: always sit where you can hear the teacher. Another location lesson. And he concludes: "the best investment you can make is an investment in yourself."
Buffett got involved with the "Secret Millionaire's Club" as part of a friendship with Andy Heyward, who heads A Squared and has produced opening videos for Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meetings for some time. Last year, the webisodes premiered at the gathering.
In an interview on CNBC, Buffett was jokingly asked if he was doing it for the money - voiceover work pays well. He chuckled and said he wasn't. It's unclear if the same benevolence will hold for the TV specials.
Buffett added that he wanted to teach kids early lessons to avoid financial problems later, such as not running up onerous credit card debt. And the Oracle of Omaha, who has smartly eschewed technology stocks even as their value soared, said he also hoped to "teach them if something is too good to be true, it probably is."
CNBC viewers know that. Don't they?