TCA: Hub Chief Optimistic, Cautious About Launching Children's Network


Children's network The Hub opened the cable portion of the 2010 TCA Summer Press Tour, offering a first-look at the networks strategy and programming. President and CEO Margaret Loesch introduced the Discovery Communications/Hasbro Inc. joint venture, which will launch on Oct. 10. Programming includes game shows, specials and live-action and animated series. The Hub will also extend its content online, including a site for parents.

Speaking to reporters after the presentation, Loesch described a network that is optimistic yet cautious about its approach to launching another children's network in what has become a very crowded space.

"I am worried about kids being able to find us," she admitted. "I believe that if they watch us, they'll come back for more, but getting them to watch us is our biggest challenge."

Loesch sees The Hub as the response to a lack of traditional, family-oriented children's programming on television today. While she concedes that networks like PBS are highly successful with very young viewers, Loesch believes the Hub will ultimately flourish as an alternative for older children.

"What parents are saying is that there's a dearth of programming for six-to-eleven year olds. Programming for kids is now creeping into the tween and teen area. Some [parents] don't feel it is totally appropriate. I think we can go back to an age of innocence and put in playful concepts and marry it with educational concepts," she said.

Loesch says intensive marketing -- on other networks and in classrooms -- will be the Hub's immediate solution to attracting viewers. However, the network must also walk the fine line between product integration and parental expectation.

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