Channel One Makes The New York Times… But Not In A Good Way

May 5, 2006

To be mentioned in a front page newspaper story is a big deal.

To be mentioned in a front page story in the New York Times is a really big deal.

Yesterday, the Times reported on the modified soft drink pullout from schools. The deal does not affect Channel One’s ability to advertise junk drinks to children.

“Gary Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert, a nonprofit public-health group, said the new agreement might prove to have the same problem. Mr. Ruskin criticized it, too, because it did not address soft-drink advertising in schools and did not stop bottlers from advertising on Channel One, which is shown to seven million schoolchildren a day.”

In the Southern edition of the Times the article was slightly different and its last sentence mentions Channel One. This is the type of publicity Channel One can do without.

Mr. Ruskin’s concern about Channel One is justified. Yesterday during a conference call announcing first quarter earnings, Dean Nelson PRIMEDIA’s CEO was asked a question about Channel One. The questioner asked how the soft drink news affects Channel One’s advertising. Nelson said it may be good news for Channel One because now they may be able to advertise the fruit drinks and other beverages not involved with the ban.

Many of the products Nelson is referring to provide needless calories and fat grams. It is not a good sign for students that Channel One is biting at the bit to bring PepsiCo back into the classroom. Already Channel One is saturating classrooms with promotions for PepsiCo’s Gatorade.