Nickelodeon's Food, Mattel's Toys: Kids' Staples No More

Two kids' entertainment companies, Nickelodeon and Mattel, are cutting back on what we now know shouldn't be part of kids' daily life diet -- high-fat foods and lead-painted toys, respectively.

Nickelodeon said it will no longer license its character for unhealthful food products - not that high-fat, high-sugar food companies would consider them.  A month ago 11 major food and beverage advertisers said they would change, curtail, or maybe even eliminate some TV food commercials to kids under the age of 12. Some of these food items come with licensed entertainment products.

Now comes word that almost 1 million toys manufactured in China for major toy maker Mattel could contain lead paint --because those Mattel-approved factories subcontracted out paintwork to smaller unauthorized companies.

Well, what can you expect from workers who get what amounts to pennies per hour in wages?  You get what you pay for.



While Mattel's stock hasn't really been hurt from the news, one wonders how its TV advertising will change in the coming months - especially going into the holiday season. And, of course, will TV networks like Nickelodeon be affected?

Maybe not right now. Nickelodeon and other kids' networks have been doing their best to expand beyond just toy and food ads over the last few years. Toys are a business that more or less revolves around major selling in one big time of the year - end-of-the-year holidays. But Nick gets good premiums for that. Food is advertised all year round - as much lower rates.

Nickelodeon and other kids' networks now depend on movies, video games, technology products and other non-endemic kids categories, such as travel and autos that are geared to their parents.

This year Nickelodeon says its kids' upfront business is up by double-digit percent increases on the cost per thousand kid viewers, and single-digit percent hikes in overall revenue.

Food and toys. One would think this covers much of what kids need. Now we come to the realization the real word has always been health.

What's the next surprise hazardous product to be discovered for kids?  TV, the homes we live in, the schools, or the malls? Protect your kids from all the modern conveniences of life, and you'll be fine.

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