Channel One Brings Back Marketing PG13 Movies To Middle Schools

August 8, 2002

Well, it didn’t last long. In 2000, Channel One was shamed into stopping the practice of advertising PG-13 movies in middle schools. Channel One’s lobbyists went into overdrive getting the message out that Channel One was being sensitive to their middle school audience.

A little background; Although to a classroom teacher, Channel One News looks like a seamless show it is actually made up of two signals. One signal is the “news” part. This is everything but the two commercial breaks which usually contain four 30-second ads. So all schools get the “news” part even though the age range is from 11 to 18. Middle schools get the “middle school” ad feed which has no PG-13 ads and no military recruitment ads. High school students get the “high school” feed that advertises the vulgar and violent movies that Channel One is famous for.

But this past school year, the clever people at Channel One’s New York office realized they can still make money from the movie studios and still maintain a facade of caring for middle schoolers. They would be paid by a movie studio to get their PG-13 movies to the middle school kids but without using the standard movie trailers.

Movie stars are booked to be “guest hosts” on Channel One and they get ample opportunity to plug their latest PG-13 movie to all students. Kristen Dunst is one example. She pushes three PG-13 movies on one show! She mentions “Get Over It” (PG-13) is still in the theaters and she mentions Spiderman (PG-13) coming out later. But the real reason she was for the movie she didn’t mention, “Crazy/Beautiful” (PG-13) that was coming out shortly. That movie was filled with drug and sexual content. That is probably why it wasn’t mentioned, but the effect was the same. Middle school children saw Kristen Dunst on their school TV sets right before the premiere of her latest movie.

You could almost hear the Channel One executives laughing at the clueless middle school teachers and principals who didn’t know the rating of these movies.

Now things are even worse for middle school children. Channel One will urge them to go see movies without giving the rating of the movies. Since Channel One is meshing movie ads into the news part of the show there is no requirement that the MPAA rating be given.

You have admire the Channel One executives like Jim Ritts and Jeff Ballabon. They are masterful at what they do. If there is a way to make money getting commercial content to schoolchildren, they will find it.

It is up to parents, students, legislators, and teachers who still remember why they entered teaching to put an end to this advertising gimmick called Channel One News.

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