The long-rumored takeover and rebranding of the children’s network is about to take place, The Wall Street Journal reports. Discovery would acquire some of Hasbro’s share in the struggling joint venture — but still leave the toymaker with a sizable stake — and then likely rename it Discovery Family. It would target parents as well as kids, and still enable Hasbro to program the channel from 9 AM to 3 PM.
While the deal isn’t complete yet, I hear that the channel likely will become part of Group President Henry Schleiff’s growing fiefdom — which includes Investigation Discovery, Destination America, and the American Heroes Channel. It would be managed by Tom Cosgrove, formerly the head of 3D Television Network, Discovery’s defunct JV with Sony and Imax. Cosgrove would continue to be based at Discovery’s Silver Springs, Md headquarters, although The Hub would still have offices in Burbank.
My colleague Nellie Andreeva reported many of these details in June as company watchers wondered what would happen to The Hub after CEO Margaret Loesch announced that she’ll step down at the end of this year. The joint venture has had little success taking share in a crowded market dominated by Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, while kids advertising has declined, HUB had already expanded into family-oriented programming, airing movies in primetime and adding older-skewing fare like popular 1990s teen comedy series Blossom.
Hasbro paid $300M for its 50% stake in the new network five years ago, and spent as much as $200M million to ramp up Hasbro Studios, a major supplier of The Hub’s programming. The toymaker said in July that its share of the network generated a $2.3M profit in Q2, up from $131,000 in the period last year. CEO Brian Goldner told analysts that Hasbro was “very committed to the Hub.” He added, though, that when the JV was formed in 2010 “we talked about that three to five-year time horizon to really find the footing for the Hub, and where it will go and what will it be as a network.” That makes this “a good time to continue to up our game and to look at how to build the Hub.”
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