For Immediate Release
The End of the Line for Channel One News?
Following Scholastic Victory, Advocates for Commercial-Free Education Set Sights on Notorious In-School Advertiser
BOSTON - On the heels of a successful campaign that convinced Scholastic Inc. to significantly scale back its InSchool Marketing division, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has set its sights on the most insidious in-school advertiser of all: Channel One News. CCFC’s newest campaign, “School’s Out for Channel One,” will persuade schools and advertisers to put an end to Channel One’s 20-year reign in schools. Kmart is the campaign’s first target. The retailer is advertising its back-to-school clothing lines—and its branded web series “First Day 2”—on Channel One this fall. CCFC members are demanding that Kmart stop using school time, paid for with tax dollars, to advertise to a captive audience of students.
"As our success with Scholastic clearly demonstrates, there is growing outrage about school time being usurped by advertising” said CCFC’s director Dr. Susan Linn. “Given heightened concerns about the quality of education in this country, it’s insane to let Channel One continue to take up valuable class time to promote Kmart or any other company.”
For more than 20 years, Channel One News has compelled students to watch a 12-minute newscast that includes 2 minutes of commercials. Schools with Channel One lose a full week of school each year to the broadcasts—and a full day of instructional time is lost to the commercials alone.
“Plain and simple: Channel One and its advertisers are stealing from taxpayers,” said Jim Metrock, president of the watchdog organization, Obligation, Inc. (www.obligationinc.org).
Increasingly, educators and parents recognize that Channel One is a terrible deal for schools and students. Since 2003, the network has lost more than a third of its 12,000 schools. Other schools are openly violating their contracts by showing the broadcasts before or after school—which makes Channel One a bad deal for advertisers as well.
Kmart’s Channel One advertising will be for “First Day 2,”a web series created by the retailer to promote its clothing lines Bongo, Glo, and Selena Gomez for Dream Out Loud. The clothes are featured prominently on cast members, and each time new outfits appear, young viewers are urged to click through to the Kmart website to buy them.
Despite the fact that Channel One is shown in tax-payer funded schools, the company operates under a shroud of secrecy. Channel One refuses to disclose the schools it operates in and has refused multiple requests to identify the companies purchasing ad time on its in-school network To inform parents about exactly what their children are watching, CCFC will be exposing companies that advertise on Channel One during the 2011-12 school year.
“Parents have a right to know which companies commercialize classrooms and target children behind their backs,” said Dr. Linn. “We urge them to consider Kmart’s exploitation of schoolchildren as they decide where to spend their back-to-school dollars this fall.”
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents who counter the harmful effects of marketing to children through action, advocacy, education, research, and collaboration among organizations and individuals who care about children. CCFC is a project of Third Sector New England (www.tsne.org).