Kid-Focused Channel One Business Model Questioned

In an apparent state of dis-repair, failing equipment, heightened criticism and exiting advertisers, Chris Whittle's Channel One, the in school network that turns kids in 12,000 schools into advertiser controlled consumer zombies, is suffering badly. Consumer advocate Gary Ruskin holds nothing back in his contempt for the business model.

"Channel One’s repugnant business model of forcing children to watch ads in school is failing." said Gary Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert, a nonprofit organization that opposes the commercialization of education. "This is just the latest instance of the rejection of the commercial culture and its spread into the schools."

"Parents are fed up with corporations interfering with their relationship with their own children,” Ruskin said. "Across the country, people are finally coming to realize that pushing advertising at school children is intolerable, outrageous and wrong." A press release from Ruskin's group sites some examples hinting towards a rebellion against kid targeted advertising. The disintegration of the ZapMe! Corp, the defeat of Time-Warner’s plans to put ads on CNN Student News, and the removal of soda pop or other junk food marketers in California, Texas, Maine, Arkansas, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle, among other places are reasons the group thinks Channel One is headed for trouble.

Oddly, Channel One was founded in 1990, long before the current advertising landscape become so overwhelming that, short of sitting in a prison's solitary confinement cell, avoiding advertising is now near impossible. Perhaps properly crafted and vetted commercials aimed at kids were, at one time, acceptable. Today, that seems to be an impossibility as marketers fight for a slot in the increasing tidal wave of messaging crashing down on people. That fight has caused the inevitable backlash against all kinds of advertising amplifying the focus on the low hanging fruit of kid-focused advertising. When a six year old daughter says she doesn't want to eat a piece of bacon because it will make her fat, there's concern. Even responsible parents have difficulty contending with the onslaught of messaging that really has no place finding its way to children's ears.

by Steve Hall    Mar-14-05   Click to Comment   

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