Unlike the OWN network, Discovery's other unfolding joint venture will not receive any late-game cash infusion. Kids network The Hub is sufficiently funded as it nears its launch next month, per CEO Margaret Loesch.
The channel is a 50/50 venture between Discovery and Hasbro, where the Discovery Kids network will become The Hub in 60 million homes on Oct. 10. OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, is a 50/50 venture between Discovery and Winfrey's production company and is coming Jan. 1.
Discovery recently made an $89 million commitment to OWN -- on top of its initial $100 million obligation. Winfrey has agreed to star in a high-profile show on the new net.
At The Hub, Loesch said pre-launch advertiser interest has been strong. More than 50 advertisers have signed up and almost 90% of those did not advertise on Discovery Kids. The majority of toy and game companies are on board, including Hasbro.
Programming will involve Hasbro brands, such as G.I. Joe, Strawberry Shortcake and Transformers. Also, the network recently announced a show based on the board game "Clue."
Loesch said The Hub can succeed by honing in on the 6- to-9-year-old audience (6-to-11 more broadly), a segment that formidable competitors Disney Channel and Nickelodeon may be overlooking.
"More and more, they're going in two different directions," Loesch said at a Hasbro investor event Wednesday. "Much of their programming is skewing younger, preschool, and much of their programming is skewing older toward tweens and teens ... there's a white space developing, or the perception of a white space, that is an opportunity for us."
Loesch also said The Hub would look for shows that kids and parents can watch together and will design programs aimed at co-viewing.
The Hub will have five dayparts, designed to capitalize on advertiser interest. Looking to benefit from co-viewing, there will be a one-hour "kids and family access" period in the early evening, leading into joint prime-time efforts.
The pre-launch marketing campaign will roll out in about 10 days, using in-theater, local TV, cable, social media and other avenues. Loesch described the budget as "robust."
Also, promotion on Discovery networks, such as TLC and Animal Planet, will be heavy. TLC and other channels in the stable will air a preview of The Hub's "Family Game Night" game show.
Discovery CEO David Zaslav said the genesis of The Hub came, in part, from respect for the vision of Hasbro. Discovery was uncertain about its future in the kids' programming business, since the arena diverges from its non-fiction-programming core competency.
"The kids' space is not a space that we felt we ourselves could win with," Zaslav said.