The junk-food issue aside, children's media has been under attack from no less a figure than Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has raised concerns about the state of childhood in the UK.
That, along with more commercial concerns such as overcrowding on the electronic programme guide, increasing competition for audiences from the internet and mobile phones - not to mention the might of the BBC's children's output - and you might think kids' TV channel-owners were having sleepless nights.
Or maybe not. Kids' television is still hugely profitable, even if growth rates aren't as high as they have been in the past. One person who seems remarkably relaxed about the state of the industry is Keith MacMillan, chairman of Chart Show Channels, owner of Pop and Tiny Pop.
His company pays close attention to the supposed threat of the internet and claims that, at the moment, there is not "a shred of evidence" it is taking share from TV.
Richard Kilgarriff, former general manager of Turner Broadcasting and founder of the Famous Top Fives website, says: "There are definite threats to the kids' TV business in the UK - regulation, fragmented audiences, oversaturated EPG and so on, but they are also hugely successful and profitable, with great brands, and therefore fully capable of turning some perceived threat - like the growth in broadband - into an opportunity when they feel the time is right."
Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Channel surveyed 4,000 parents of pre-teen kids and found that they saw cartoons as a way of helping children to use their imaginations. More than half said that watching cartoons made their child laugh and encouraged a sense of wellbeing. Some 41% of parents said that cartoons were the best way of encouraging a child's creativity, ahead of reading and listening to music.
Cecilia Persson, vice-president of programming at the Cartoon Network, says: "Although sustaining a fantasy world of fairies, goblins, elves and cartoon heroes may not seem worthwhile to some more serious-minded parents, it has a surprisingly significant impact on a child's development."
Broadcasters are looking at how to face up to growing competition and make sure that they are not caught out when television becomes less profitable. Cross-platform is one solution to the problem of internet competition. However, this throws up another issue - restricted rights for content exploitation, particularly internet rights.
Turner Broadcasting Europe is one kids' media owner that is tackling this problem head on. Earlier this year, it set up an original productions unit in London, with the stated aim of creating the best content in Europe in addition to the US content it already produces, such as The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends.
This content will be wholly owned by Turner, which can distribute and control the output. Finn Arnesen, senior vice-president of original series and international development, says: "This investment is an excellent opportunity to tap into local talent and expertise, which allows us to increase the amount of compelling content for our channels."
Disney Channel's High School Musical is a good example of original content that has really caught the imagination of its target audience and succeeded in creating a genuinely innovative vehicle that encompasses a live stage show, a movie, website and other content.
Rob Gilby, managing director of Disney Channel, UK, Middle East and Emerging Markets, says: "Content will become increasingly important to kids' channels as the market continues to become more diverse."
Jetix is also looking at how it uses other platforms to keep audiences. Managing director Boel Ferguson says: "It's important that content on other platforms shouldn't just be bits and pieces from our TV shows."
And she says that it has to work both ways, that the programming department must also cater for the multi-platform environment, not just the TV channels.
Broadcasters have warned of the negative impact a ban on food advertising on kids' television would have, saying that it will lead to a reduction of investment in original programming and even possibly lead to station closures. But Kilgarriff thinks the real threat could be coming from another direction.
"If the bottom drops out of the loans ads market, that could be more of a threat than the junk-food ban," he says, describing the finance industry, which has a similar target audience to many children's channels, as a "cash cow".
Nonetheless, the buccaneering spirit of UK industry looks likely to ensure that kids' television channels aren't left behind.
Kilgarriff says: "If broadcasters get the timing right, invest in original content and embrace broadband as a new medium, rather than just another platform for distribution, then they will continue to grow. If they stand still, they will eventually disappear."
This article was first published on Media Week