Revisiting the Economic Impact of Channel One

January 30, 2013

Channel One News in public schools still costs taxpayers $1.8 billion annually.


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An Analysis of Channel One in Secondary Classrooms

The purpose of this study was to update a 1998 study by Sawicky and Molnar (1998) that tabulated what the researchers defined as a “hidden cost” of commercialism in public schools. Specifically, the Sawicky and Molnar study looked at the cost to secondary schools for subsidizing Channel One, a for-profit organization that provides free television technology to secondary schools in exchange for airing12-minutes of daily programming to the schools. Sawicky and Molnar estimated that Channel One reached an estimated 8.3 million U.S. students and cost an estimated $1.8 billion dollars to U.S. school systems. The results of this study indicate that the influence of Channel One has declined in terms of number of students (about 6 million), but the estimated cost to the schools has remained steady at $1.8 million. The stability of the expenses appears to be a combination of inflation that compensates for the reduction in students reached. Additional research is needed to identify the specific nature and topics of the advertising directed at students by Channel One, while an analysis of its programming and possible product placements is also needed.

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