FTC Mentions Channel One in Historic Report on Marketing of Violent Entertainment to Children

September 11, 2000

“Target marketing to children of entertainment products with violent content is pervasive and aggressive,”

FTC chairman Robert Pitofsky
(September 11, 2000)

You bet, Bob. Violent movies, violent television shows, violent music, violent video games. This is the world our children live in. The marketing of violent entertainment is big business, and that is certainly the case with Channel One.

In today’s monumental report, the FTC specifically mentioned Channel One as a “less traditional” way that marketers get their messages to children. The FTC has in its possession tapes of Channel One’s ads for the movies Supernova, The Mummy, The World Is Not Enough and television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, New York Undercover, and the television movie, Stephen King’s The Shining. They also have proof that Channel One played music from groups known for their ultra-violent lyrics.

Jim Metrock said, “Channel One is busted. How dare these high-priced marketers push violence into our children’s lives. Channel One routinely places money ahead of the welfare of children and they deserve the growing wrath of the public.”

From the 9/11/00 FTC Report Appendix B:

“Entertainment marketers look not only to reach teens but to be pervasive in the market throughout the day, whether at home, school, or out and about. Marketers also use a variety of less traditional techniques to communicate to teens. Recently, a small industry of companies that market to youth in educational settings has grown up. One example is Channel One, which provides schools with a brief 12-minute news program that incorporates two minutes of advertising, including ads for entertainment products.”

Metrock said, “We are again sending a letter to Channel One asking that they release the list of all movies and television shows advertised to children since 1995, which was the first year PRIMEDIA owned the company. The amount of violent entertainment advertised on Channel One is believed to be considerably more than we mentioned. Obligation only gets to see less than 30% of Channel One’s shows. Channel One has gotten much more aggressive with its advertising over the last three years. How aggressive? This January 14, Channel One TV sets showed children a person being ‘gutted’ on the very violent commercial for the movie Supernova. Channel One gave that movie ad a big ‘okeydokey’ because they would make some big money by pushing that particular movie.”

“The marketers are in our schools and they shouldn’t be,” said Metrock. “They are making our children feel inferior if they don’t buy expensive athletic shoes or odd if they don’t eat candy bars all the time, and not popular unless they are going to age-inappropriate and often violent movies. These children are virtual slaves to the marketers who bid for their attention. Now is the time to stop this insanity. We urge communities to remove Channel One from their schools.”

Check it out yourself.

Read the Federal Trade Commission report on how Violent Entertainment is Marketed to Children by going to the FTC Web Site (www.ftc.gov).

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