CCFC Asks States to Study Channel One News

For Immediate Release

CCFC Asks States to Study Channel One News

Letter Outlines Concerns, Urges Review of Controversial In-School Advertiser

WASHINGTON - Today, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood called on state education departments to investigate the controversial in-school network Channel One News—and to encourage local school districts to suspend its use until such a review is complete. In a letter sent to state superintendents and commissioners of education, CCFC outlined several concerns about Channel One, including the fact that schools showing the in-school network lose more than one week of instructional time each year; that increasingly commercialized broadcasts violate the terms of its contract with schools; and that Channel One promotes inappropriate websites to children. Channel One News is broadcast to 5.5 million students across the country every school day.  

“For nearly 25 years, Channel One has wasted taxpayer-funded class time by showing student-targeted commercials to a captive audience of schoolchildren,” said CCFC’s Associate Director, Josh Golin. “Now, the network is escalating its commercial assault on students by turning entire broadcasts into ads and by encouraging children to visit inappropriate and disreputable websites. Forcing children to watch program-length commercials in exchange for the loan of outdated video equipment is a not a good deal for schools or students.”

Channel One News’ contract states that each daily 12-minute broadcast will include up to two minutes of commercial content. Increasingly, however, Channel One extends its commercial content beyond the contractually agreed upon two minutes by integrating commercial content into its newscast in addition to regular commercials. Channel One’s “News Quiz” segment is frequently hosted by celebrities using the quiz to promote a new film or television show. And on May 23, 2012, Channel One’s entire 12-minute broadcast was devoted to promoting four television shows on the ABC Family network.  

CCFC also urged education officials to examine the websites Channel One promotes to students. These include highly sexualized websites such as gURL.com, which is owned by its parent company Alloy, Inc. A recent post on gURL.com was titled, “Reader Hookup Confession: I Lost My Virginity to My Best Friend’s Boyfriend.”  

This summer, the advertisers on ChannelOne.com—which is promoted throughout Channel One News in-school broadcasts—have included an Internet psychic that cost $7.49/minute and the controversial website Spokeo.com, which was fined $800,000 by the Federal Trade Commission in June, 2012 for the misuse and sale of personal data.

“It is critical that school districts showing Channel One are made aware of its unscrupulous advertisers,” said Golin. “Everything advertised on Channel One and ChannelOne.com carries the implicit endorsement of any school where it is shown.”

CCFC’s letter also raises concerns about Channel One’s lack of transparency and whether schools are placing themselves at risk by openly violating their terms of service with the network. The letter can be read at http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/pdf/channeloneletter.pdf

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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).

 

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