Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Hub Rebrand Now Official

As mentioned last week, Hasbro were in negotiations to turn control of The Hub to Discovery Communications. Now that move is official. Effective October 13, the channel will be Discovery Family Channel. I doubt this will change anything from a cable provider perspective but from a viewer perspective the rebranding means a new schedule with a heavy emphasis on Discovery's "family friendly" content. Current shows they plan on adding to the channel are Superhuman, Time Warp, Flying Wild Alaska, Africa and Extreme Engineering: Biggest Reveals with probably more to follow. Hasbro cartoons will continue to air in the daytime with My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop, and Transformers Rescue Bots cited as examples but what time range is Hasbro's was not specified.

I am curious to know what drove this change. The Hub's business model wasn't profits through ads but profit by increasing toy sales for Hasbro. Even if the channel had been profitable selling the commercials, Hasbro would have considered it a failure if it didn't help sell their toys and judging by their last year or so of decreasing sales indicates that The Hub may have actually hurt them since few kids saw their ads/cartoons. My guess is most people's view of the channel was the same as mine. The Hub simply wasn't worth paying the extra $10 a month to get when Disney, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon were available at expanded basic cable tier. As a result between limited access to the channel compared to their competitor kid networks while simultaneously removing Hasbro's content from those competitor channels resulted in far few kids seeing those cartoons/ads than expected. So less eyeballs means less toys sells means channel being viewed as essentially a failure despite the multiple Emmys and critical acclaim some its programming enjoyed. After four years the Hasbro powers that be probably decided to just cut their losses and move back to a model that worked before - airing cartoons on whatever channel will pay for them with the advantage of getting in front of a whole lot more eyeballs. I don't know what this means for Transformers: Robot in Disguise which is supposed to air sometime in 2015. I would not be the least bit surprised if we learn later that Hasbro shopped it around to other networks to air.

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