Ian Keldon wrote:
Which is odd, considering they're a broadcasting company, not a toy company...
It's not odd at all; it's simply how commercial television works. Studios and broadcasters need money to make and air their shows. They get that money from corporations that believe those shows can help advertise their products, so that the money they invest in making the show will be more than paid back in profits from selling their stuff.
For decades, the production of animated television shows has been funded in part by toy companies that developed and sold toy lines that tied into the shows. This has been the case since the 1980s, when most animated shows were little more than half-hour commercials for pre-existing toy lines like Masters of the Universe, Transformers, GI Joe, MASK, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake
, etc. But even cartoons that aren't based on existing toy lines have needed the support of a toy line in order to get adequate funding. Hence we've had things like the Batman: The Animated Series
toy line that put Batman in dozens of variant costumes and equipment sets that never actually appeared on the show. Hence Gargoyles
had to give the winged heroes their own helicopter as a prospective toy tie-in (though I don't think the toy ever went on the market). And so on.
So it's just the nature of the business these days that cartoons and toy lines have a symbiotic relationship. Without a toy company willing to develop a line of merchandise to help fund the show, the studio can't afford to make the show. At least, not if it's as top-grade a production as Young Justice
. That gorgeous animation, sophisticated writing, and quality casting don't come cheap.