Netflix may remove My Little Pony, other Hasbro shows

You’ve got two weeks to prepare your kids for it: Netflix could be removing kids shows from Hasbro / Discovery from its streaming service at the beginning of February, according to reports from USA Today and the New York Post.

Shows like My Little Pony: Friendship is MagicLittlest Pet Shop, Transformers Rescue Bots and Transformers Prime will disappear on February 3 unless the two parties strike an eleventh-hour deal, which seems unlikely, but not totally out of the question. A [company]Netflix[/company] spokesperson declined to comment on negotiations between the two companies, but a [company]Hasbro[/company] spokesperson sent me the following statement:

“We know today’s audiences watch content on a number of different platforms and we are deeply committed to ensuring that the people who love our shows have access to them anytime and anywhere they want to watch. Hasbro Studios programs including My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Transformers RescueBots are currently available on numerous broadcast and streaming platforms around the world.  We are extremely hopeful that we can continue to offer our highly rated, award winning programs to Netflix U.S. subscribers. “

It’s worth noting that some movie titles with the same characters, including My Little Pony Equestria Girls, will remain on Netflix either way, as they are not covered by this deal.

Netflix regularly removes shows and movies as content deals expire, and occasionally brings back content that briefly went off the platform. But while Netflix subscribers have by and large gotten used to this dance, it’s a different story with kids shows altogether.

Last year, all hell broke lose when Netflix ended its contractual relationship with Viacom, forcing the company to remove popular kids shows like Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants and Go Diego Go, with hundreds of our readers complaining about ruined birthday parties and broken little hearts.

Today in Connected Consumer

Windows-oriented OEMs obviously weren’t listening when Apple’s Tim Cook spelled out why he thinks laptops and tablets don’t mix. At Computex in Taipei this week, booths were awash in various configurations of tablet/laptop hybrids from Asus, Acer, ViewSonic and others, all running Windows 8, either on Intel or ARM, and some that boot both Win8 and Android side-by-side. Engadet has hands-0n video of Acer’s new flat-folding ultrabooks with touchscreen displays. The Verge has some nice video of Asus’ Windows RT (Win8 on ARM) transformer laptop with detachable tablet display. The weirdest configuration, though, must be Asus’ AiO transformer. It’s an all-in-one desktop with an 18.4-inch display that dual-boots Win8 and Android, and the screen also detaches, creating the world’s biggest Android tablet. Not sure why you would want an 18-inch tablet, but I guess it’s cool that you could have one if you did.

A kids’ reading app that reports back to parents

Children’s e-book reading is still in very early stages — but with parents increasingly handing iPads down to their kids, publishers see room for fast growth. A new iPad app offers children’s books from brands like My Little Pony and Curious George.

Transformers Takes Baby Step Into Augmented Reality Video

augmented reality with noodlesTo help promote next week’s summer movie behemoth Tranformers 2, Paramount recently launched a web site using augmented reality, in which real-world data is merged to a virtual overlay. That’s a fancy way of saying the site uses your web camera to capture video of your face, then plop Optimus Prime’s robot head onto yours. (If you don’t feel like installing the required Active X plug-in, here’s a video of it in action.) Now you can pretend to be a Transformer without having to legally change your name, like a National Guardsman famously did before going to Iraq. I accidentally left the site up during my lunch break, then glanced at my laptop to see Optimus Prime in my living room, noshing on chow mein.

If you’re not a Transformers fan, however, it’ll probably entertain you for roughly 30 seconds. There doesn’t seem to be any functionality beyond the head-matching gimmick, which is disappointing. An option to send “I’m Optimus Prime!” screenshots to friends, for example, or post videos to YouTube, would have been nice additions. (When it comes to using augmented reality video in marketing, I prefer the much more interactive General Electric’s Smart Grid campaign from earlier this year.) At best, then, it’s a very small baby step into augmented reality, but thanks to its connection with a prominent Hollywood movie, will probably introduce a fairly large audience to this still relatively obscure technology. We can only hope future online video productions explore augmented reality’s full potential.