It seems that Hasbro and Discovery Communications hopes for The Hub is not (yet) quite working out as planned. Deadline is reporting that Discovery Communications filed a $500 million debt notice to the SEC in part because of the lackluster audience the network has been getting with an average total day audience of only 23,000. I doubt The Hub is the cause of all that debt, just a portion of it. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Discovery "amended its agreement with Hasbro Inc. regarding The Hub to revise the license fees paid by The Hub for animated programs. This amendment creates a trigger event for purposes of intangible asset and goodwill impairment testing." While all this is out of my realm of understanding, my reading of it indicates that to offset the losses Hasbro has to pay more for its programming to air on the network. The more Hasbro has to pay (especially if doesn't get that in return with increase in toy shelves) will likely start impacting what airs on the network. Most new networks (even those that just rename themselves) have growing pains but it seems this move after less than a year of existence indicates that Discovery has real doubts about the future of the collaboration.
Hopefully the network will have time to build an audience. From what I have heard it has potential. Of course if you don't have an HDTV with HD converter box and paying for the upper channels (aka paying around $100 a month for cable) than good luck watching. Part of that lack of audience may just people not being willing to pay the high price for higher channels that have no real HD value like The Hub cartoons (like me). Another problem is communication. The schedule for The Hub has been difficult to nail down as new episodes are oddly scattered and unpredictable. Something you stumble across rather than know of in advance. Little kids may not care but if the goal is to create a daily habit of watching (like the Saturday morning or afternoon cartoons of old), predictable schedules is key. The Hub doesn't really have that. I am not sure the talent that is running the network but they might want to consider hiring over some of the talent that helped build Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network as right now I get the feeling that it is the toy department execs running the show but the needed skill set is simply not the same. Whatever ails them, good luck setting it back on course because The Hub is key to a future full of Transformers, especially if the movies go an extended hiatus.