Such reciprocity has included participation in fan conventions by the show's voice actors and producers, recognition of the brony fandom in official promotional material, and incorporating background characters popularized by the fans (such as the fandom-named "Derpy Hooves") into in-jokes within the show.
As a result of these efforts in part, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has become a major commercial success with the series becoming the highest rated original production in Hub Network's broadcast history.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an animated television series produced by Hasbro as part of the My Little Pony toy franchise, which is tied in with the 2010 launch of dolls and play sets, and original programming for U. cable channel Discovery Family (formerly Hub Network).
Lauren Faust was selected as the creative developer and executive producer for the show, based on her previous animation experience with shows like The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
Amidi's essay expressed concern that assigning a talent like Faust to a toy-centric show was part of a trend towards a focus on profitable genres of animation, such as toy tie-ins, to deal with a fragmented viewing audience, and overall "an admission of defeat for the entire movement, a white flag-waving moment for the TV animation industry." The article said this concern was over the fact that more and more shows seem to be driven by company executives who want to sell their products, rather than creators.
Though the show had been discussed on 4chan's 'comics and cartoon' board ('/co/') before the essay's publication, the alarmist nature of the essay led to more interest in the show, resulting in a positive response for the series for its plot, characters, and animation style.
This constitutes roughly 1 in 34 people in the United States being a brony.
Professor emeritus Bill Ellis of Penn State University has compared the brony culture to that of otaku, fans of Japanese anime.
Ellis, speaking at the 2012 Anime NEXT convention, considered that both bronies and otaku fans are "psychologically and developmentally normal" and are simply "non-majoritarian" in their choice of active interests.
The adult interest in the show is comparable to that of The Magic Roundabout, Tiny Toon Adventures, Rocko's Modern Life, Animaniacs, Dexters Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Sponge Bob Square Pants, Yo Gabba Gabba!
, and Phineas and Ferb: older audiences appreciate jokes aimed at adult viewers and a sense of nostalgia for older cartoons and animated films.
Further, using the Jungian personality test, the survey revealed that the largest fraction of respondents (approximately 27%) fell into the "INTJ" classification, which normally only occurs in 1–3% of the population, according to the surveyors.