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I'd like to think of myself as a long-term, buy-and-hold investor. And most of the time I am.
I tend to tune out the talking heads on CNBC, stay away from minute-by-minute checking of my stocks, and take long walks on the beach. Yet there is one group of people whose opinion counts above all else in my investing world:
My middle-school-aged cousins.
Fighting for young eyes on cable
I'll get back to my cousins a bit later; for now, I'd like to consider the larger issue of marketing toward children. Don't let Bugs Bunny or My Little Pony deceive you -- this is a highly competitive business. In 2006, kids through age 14 funneled some $160 billion away from their parents' pockets.
The landscape is diverse and wide-ranging. On one end of the spectrum, live-action shows like wrestling have attracted a large following. One recent study showed that 63% of high school boys watch wrestling regularly. To be sure, World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE: WWE ) has a nice corner on this market (and sports a 4.6% dividend yield); but Sinclair Broadcast Group's (Nasdaq: SBGI ) recent purchase of the Ring of Honor wrestling franchise should add some competition into the mix.
On the other end of the spectrum, stations like Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX ) Cartoon Network, Viacom's (NYSE: VIA ) Nickelodeon and -- of course -- Disney's (NYSE: DIS ) flagship station provide lighter fare for our youth.
A new player enters the fold
Encouraged by the success of Marvel Entertainment, and the company's ability to monetize its intellectual property, toymaker Hasbro (Nasdaq: HAS ) recently decided to enter the cable television space. In a joint venture with Discovery Communications, they launched The Hub in 2010 -- a channel which features many of Hasbro's most popular brands, like G.I. Joe, Yahtzee, and Transformers.
The idea is that with more kids watching these shows, they'll want to buy the corresponding games with greater frequency, giving Hasbro an edge over rival Mattel (NYSE: MAT ) . The Hub itself has shown early promise: Compared to the same time last year, 50% more kids (age 6 to 11) were tuning in to the station. So what did I do with the bulk of my own shares upon hearing this news?
I sold most of them.
Back to my cousins. They have been a great proxy for investing success in the past. In fact, I bought in to Hasbro back in 2009 when it was trading for around $26 per share, with a P/E of 12.5 and a nice dividend yield of 3%. My cousins loved the latest Transformers movie and were convincing my aunt to buy the toys.
Today, however, the story is different. Having run up more than 75%, and with a much higher P/E of 18.6, my enthusiasm has waned. This past weekend, while talking with my cousins, they said they don't even know what The Hub is, and given the chance to watch the channel, they weren't terribly impressed.
Today's price reflects optimism in the company's ability to extract more revenue because of The Hub, and I'm not sure that's a realistic proposition. Furthermore, my excitement with The Hub's strong showing so far was tempered when looking at the numbers on an absolute basis.
Viewership among 6-to-11-year-olds
Source: Kidscreen. Numbers for the week of April 18-24.
These numbers are a tough comparison because of how very new The Hub actually is. Though growing, The Hub has only 3% of the viewership that Disney does. While some may think that means there's a lot of room for growth, I'm not buying it. There's not enough to differentiate their offerings. And while absolute numbers weren't available for Nickelodeon, it currently has five of the top 10 shows for this age group as well.
My Foolish takeaway
I initially purchased Hasbro for two reasons. First, it offered a nice dividend. Second, the potential for Marvel-esque growth was present. While the dividend is still there, I prefer to find dividend stocks that have a high potential of price appreciation as well. However, it's important to note that Hasbro is definitely a Fool favorite and has been recommended by several of our newsletters -- so this article only represents my personal opinion.
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