'Happy Days': Hasbro Launches TV Oldies In Prime Time
Despite a crowded field, Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said happy days are here for the new Hub network -- literally. Borrowing a page from Nick at Nite, it's airing "Happy Days" and other former network hits in prime time to build family viewing.
The network, a co-venture of Hasbro and Discovery, launched Oct. 10; an early marketing campaign will continue through the holidays. Promotional stickers are appearing on more than 34 million Hasbro items at retail, while a network schedule will be included in deliveries of products purchased via Hasbro's Web site.
Goldner said the campaign, carrying a "Where Great Things Come Together" tagline, has been "very impactful."
"Happy Days" is joined by series such as "Family Ties" and "Doogie Howser, M.D." on weeknights. During the day, shows zero in on the network's stated target of kids 6 to 12 -- everything from a Strawberry Shortcake offering to game show "Pictureka!" to "Meerkat Manor," which has aired on Animal Planet.
An Oct. 13 airing of "Happy Days" was actually The Hub's highest-rated show for the Monday-Thursday period last week -- pulling in a .27 household rating in "live plus same day" ratings. A midnight airing of a "Transformers Generation" episode was second with a .26.
Goldner said he's had conversations with Discovery CEO David Zaslav, noting: "We feel very good about the ratings" over the first week, adding they are "indicative of people coming out and sampling, both parents and kids." The network is in 60 million homes.
This weekend, The Hub will try to make a splash with musical specials with Taylor Swift, produced by Hasbro Studios, which is behind much of the The Hub's originals. "Family Game Night," where families compete by playing Hasbro games, has the potential to be a linchpin as it takes hold on weekends.
The Hub is trying to carve out a niche with a Nickelodeon model of kids' programming during the day and co-viewing at night. But it is also competing with the Disney Channel and Cartoon Network.
"We know building a successful kids' network is a long-term endeavor," Goldner said on a Hasbro investor call, adding that he's satisfied with how The Hub and Hasbro Studios' teams have made progress in such a compressed time frame.