Nearly 18 months ago, I first brought you some early news from the States regarding The Hub, the just developing Discovery Communications/Hasbro joint venture that would rise like a phoenix from what was once Discovery Kids. After a $300M investment from Hasbro, the venture would be led by widely respected CEO Margaret Loesch who describes the channel as, “a fun and transformative destination that brings kids and their families together by presenting clever stories and engaging characters.”
From a brand development perspective, what began as simply The Hub’s logo exploration, expanded to include strategy through execution, creative strategy, on-air packaging and advertising for appointed agency Troika. The brand strategy is brought to life in the network’s logo, called ‘Hubble,’ a fun bubble-like shape with unlimited possibilities as it unexpectedly transforms into anything it desires. The Hubble is featured prominently in all of the creative executions, including nine animated network IDs.
Billed as a multi-platform joint venture, the rebranded channel will leverage its significant heritage from Discovery Communications while adding the commercial edge it needs to compete with the likes of industry heavyweights Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.
If you’re interested in some early launch numbers, click keep reading…
The Hub had little trouble bringing in more viewers in initial ratings compared to Discovery Kids. As expected, however, it is still well behind the established players in the field. According to Nielsen, during the opening Sunday launch on Oct. 10, the network pulled in a Nielsen average of 112,000 kids 2-11 viewers and 88,000 kids 6-11 viewers in prime time. (Kids 2-11 and kids 6-11 are the two broad audience metrics that kids marketers closely follow). Disney Channel averaged more than 900,000 viewers age 6-11 while Nickelodeon had 865,000 and Cartoon Network had 509,000. Smaller kids channels Disney XD, which targets boys, averaged 109,000 kids 6-11 while Nicktoons had 112,000 viewers that age.
Loesch has also been firmly behind the prospects of “Family Game Night”, because the game show format encourages a shared family viewing experience. The numbers seem to show early success, with Discovery saying it exceeded expectations in parent-child co-viewing for the night -which looks at both kids 2-11 and adults 18-49. 36% percent of those kids 2-11 viewers watched with an adult (18-49) — better than Nickelodeon (20%), Disney Channel (18%) and Cartoon Network (18%).
Over time, David Zaslav, chief executive of Discovery Communications looks to prove that there is room for a fourth player in the children’s TV marketplace. With incredibly good talent leading the charge with Margaret at The Hub, including much missed LA friends and colleagues The Hub VP Production Mike Ross, VP Operations Fred Poston, and Mike Vogel Head of Boys Animation, I’m betting he’ll be proven right.