Newspaper article The Canadian Press

With New Channel Aimed at Canines, Television Goes Straight to the Dogs

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

With New Channel Aimed at Canines, Television Goes Straight to the Dogs

Article excerpt

New TV channel goes straight to the dogs

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Never before has television been so let off its leash. Audiences are in the middle of a digital revolution, with broadcasters and even regulators scrambling to keep up with on-demand options as well as border-busting services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

One company has taken a unique approach: why not aim past man to man's best friend?

DogTV is billed as the world's first and only TV channel for dogs. Sure, people can watch, too, but this channel's demo isn't adults 18-49, or females 12-34. DogTV is after the K-9 demo, basically four-legged fans.

DogTV is no barker channel, but a real, honest-to-goodness pooch programmer. Discovery Communications in the U.S. is in on the venture.

The channel was well situated at the recent MIPCOM international television marketplace in Cannes, France, with a bright orange and white booth at the top of a main escalator. There, DogTV CEO Gilad Neumann was happy to pitch and explain the idea to buyers and reporters from around the world.

Neumann announced at MIPCOM that the service will be expanding into Germany, the U.K., Ireland and France in the next few months. It's already available in the U.S. through satellite provider DirecTV and is live-streamed in America 24/7, handy if your lap dog has a laptop.

It's also on offer in South Korea, Japan and even Israel, where the idea for the channel was first developed -- by a cat owner. Turns out cats are more finicky about television viewing than dogs.

Canada is still on the fence, although some Canuck buyers did stop by the DogTV booth to give it a sniff.

Based in California's Silicon Valley, Neumann admits his channel is aimed at a niche market. His target demo -- canines -- do not have opposable thumbs, rendering most remotes as more or less chew toys.

Still, dogs live in 30 to 50 per cent of homes across Europe and North America, according to Neumann. Many are housebound during the day and are often bored; others suffer separation anxiety away from their owners. The company has done its homework, and says its programming is scientifically tested to draw dogs to the screen -- not just to be pooch potatoes, but to be active and even exercise. …

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