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Digital kids broadcast networks, why are they rare?

Discussion in 'The toonzone - General Animation Discussion' started by TheMisterManGuy, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. TheMisterManGuy

    TheMisterManGuy Active Member

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    When the Digital TV conversion was established in 2007, one major advantage was that it allowed for digital sub-channels for most TV stations depending on Network affiliation. A Fox station for example, might also carry an all movie network, or an ABC station might carry a health network. There are plenty of specialty digital channels in the over-the-air space similar to cable. But one area that seems so under-represented is children's networks. The only notable digital broadcast network for kids currently is Qubo, with PBS Kids recently added to the mix. With the death of Saturday Morning Cartoons, you'd think broadcast kids networks on digital TV would seem like the next best thing. Streaming may be dominating everyone's lives now, but over-the-air TV is still quite popular, arguably more than cable since it's free, and is often a convenient alternative if you don't have a good internet connection.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. Gear3dGryph0n

    Gear3dGryph0n Active Member

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    Simplest answer is because they are not advertiser-friendly. Advertising is limited by FCC regs to 12 minutes per hour during the week and 10 minutes and 30 seconds per hour on weekends. On top of that, cable distribution and brand awareness is much lower on digital subchannels than it is for their rivals.

    If you've noticed the amount and type of commercials on Qubo, you will notice the difficulties these channels have with advertisers. Most of the ads are of the low-rent, direct-response variety (the ones that aren't interstitials or promo ads for other shows on the network). Advertising revenue is everything for this network because, unlike a Nick, Disney, or CN, there is no money coming in from cable subscriber fees or other divisions of the companies that own them. Hence, most of the schedule is made up of foreign and old shows. That, too, is a market that is drying up due to consolidation (Qubo was originally a joint venture; NBCU pulled out around the same time they were bought by Comcast and Classic Media pulled out as they were being purchased by DreamWorks Animation).

    Hence, the combination of a single, small revenue source, need to acquire programming from a market full of gatekeepers, and their inability to produce their own programming that can turn a profit for the network owner make the prospect of animation-focused digital subchannels a hard sell. If someone with a lot of money and the will to twist the arm of a big distributor wanted, we could at least have a channel with reruns but it's doubtful how long that would last in the age of the Internet.
     
  3. Red Arrow :D

    Red Arrow :D Proud Beneluxer

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    Studio 100 has got a digital platform for young kids called Wanagogo in Belgium, and I think it's very popular.

    (pronounced like in English: "Wanna go go")
     
  4. spyke

    spyke Well-Known Member

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    I've been wondering about this for a while as well. This is a golden opportunity for broadcasters who own OTA digital sub channels. If I owned a digital sub channel, I would make a deal with streaming services and cable channels that carry kids shows and try to make a deal to rerun episodes of their kid shows.
     
  5. RandomMe

    RandomMe An Imaginary Friend

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    There was another network PBJ, but it had limited OTA coverage and was very obscure and focused mainly on old shows. If it doesn't have good carriage, it's destined to fail.
     
  6. spyke

    spyke Well-Known Member

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    I truly believe that free OTA digital sub channels are a largely untapped market that is ripe for potential and could be the true cable TV killer. I think that once someone events a reliable OTA digital antenna that can give viewers the same kind of consistently crystal clear picture as cable TV does and more specialty digital sub channels are created, then paid cable TV days will be numbered.
     

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