Baby channel

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joedekock

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Talk about a waste of bandwith...

Round-the-Clock Channel for Infants Debuts on DirecTV
Thursday, May 11, 2006

NEW YORK — Escalating an already heated national debate, a first-of-its-kind TV channel premieres Thursday designed specifically for babies — an age group that the American Academy of Pediatrics says should be kept away from television altogether.

The new, round-the-clock channel is called BabyFirstTV. For $9.99 a month, it will be available initially by satellite through DirecTV and later through cable TV providers as well.

TV offerings already abound for older toddlers, and a lucrative — though controversial — market has developed for baby-oriented videos, attracting the Walt Disney Co. and the makers of Sesame Street, among others. But until now there had been no ongoing TV programming aimed at infants.

"This is the first channel dedicated to babies and their parents — transforming TV from its original purpose into a way for them to interact," said Sharon Rechter, BabyFirstTV's executive vice president for business development and marketing.

"The fact of life is that babies are already watching TV," she said. "That's why having BabyFirstTV is so important — what we want to offer is completely safe, commercial-free and appropriate content."

A 2003 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 68 percent of children under 2 watch TV or videos daily and 26 percent have a TV in their bedroom. Nonetheless, the pediatrics academy recommends that children of that age not be exposed to TV or videos, saying that learning to talk and play with others is much more important.

The academy's guidelines were cited last week in a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission, challenging claims by leading makers of videos for babies that their products were educational.

Seattle-area pediatrician Donald Shifrin, chairman of the academy committee that studies television and children, urged parents to exercise prudence and to view the new TV options skeptically.

"Sesame Street has opened a Pandora's box by legitimizing the idea that TV needs to be developed for this demographic," Shifrin said. "We're not the nation's nanny, but we do want to provide a little balance — we don't want to make TV the default entertainer for children."

Critics of TV for infants also are skeptical of assertions by BabyFirstTV and other companies that their products are designed to be watched by babies and parents together in an interactive manner.

"Experience tells anyone that it's not going to be used that way," said Dr. Michael Rich, director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston. "Parents use it to park their kids in front of the TV so they can get things done."

Rich said the companies "are basically letting parents off the hook from their guilt by saying, 'This is educational,' so parents can justify it to themselves."

Rechter said BabyFirstTV is not claiming that its programs — designed for viewers from 6 months to 3 years old — will make babies smarter. "But having babies and parents interact helps children's development, and we give them that opportunity," she said.

Asked about the possibility that parents might simply use the new channel as a baby sitter, Rechter replied, "We could speculate as much as we like about what parents should do."

"If a baby is watching TV, let's put them in front of appropriate content," she said. "At the end of the day, parents make the decisions."

BabyFirstTV's advisory board includes Dr. Edward McCabe, a pediatrician who is physician-in-chief at UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital.

"I was skeptical when I first heard about it," McCabe said. "But I became convinced that this is a major evolution in media for kids."

Rechter said BabyFirstTV will start with 250 hours of content, 80 percent of it original. Some of its programs will come from baby DVD companies, including Brainy Baby and First Impressions, and it has an agreement with Sterling Publishing, a Barnes & Noble subsidiary, to use children's books in a "Story Time" program.

By the end of 2006, Rechter said, BabyFirstTV also will be available in Spanish.

The three companies behind BabyFirstTV are Regency Enterprises, a film and TV production company that is a partner of Fox Entertainment; Kardan N.V, an investment group based in the Netherlands and Israel; and Bellco Capital, a private Los Angeles-based investment fund.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,195052,00.html
 

charper1

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It not much different than Sesame Street, the Electric Company, or most of the stuff on PBS Kids. Except that is supposed to be totally geared toward learning & development and less on the pure entertainment; so it can't be all bad for families with young kids. We'll have to wait and see about it after a few months. The $10/mo seems a bit much to be asking IMHO. Unless you factor in all the darn videos & DVDs of crap people buy each year and the $10/mo may be cheaper.

http://www.babyfirsttv.com/

We know that there is nothing more special to you as a parent than the connection with your baby. We are delighted to offer you a series of engaging, educational programs designed to enrich your relationship with your baby by providing you with new opportunities for learning and playing together.

BabyFirstTV goes above and beyond traditional TV – it is an educational tool that provides a positive learning environment and an engaging experience for both you and your baby. Supported by leading childhood experts, our programming features original new content including “Rainbow Horse,” “Sand Painting,” and “I Can Sign” to name a few, as well as new tools that help you better understand the developmental benefits for your baby with each of the programs.

With your baby’s safety and well being in mind, we offer content specifically tailored to meet the needs of babies and toddlers up to three years of age, in a safe and positive, commercial-free learning environment.
 

jamieh1

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Aug 27, 2004
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The channel 593 Baby First TV actually came on yesterday Wed 5/10, its running a scroll saying for a mothers day gift Directv is giving a freeview for the month of May. I would think this channel would be included in TC+, I cant believe that they want extra for it.
 

Chado

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As a parent, I think it is a great idea. I know people have differing opinions on how to raise their kids, but this is an alternative that some people may not have had before, other than keeping a library of every Elmo DVD.... Not that I am admitting to anything...
 

Smthkd

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jamielee said:
The channel 593 Baby First TV actually came on yesterday Wed 5/10, its running a scroll saying for a mothers day gift Directv is giving a freeview for the month of May. I would think this channel would be included in TC+, I cant believe that they want extra for it.

An EXTRA $9.99 per month!:eek:
 

nhlfan79

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I have an 18-month-old son and Noggin (298) works just fine, thank you very much. I don't want him watching any more TV than he already does.
 

damaged

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Jun 22, 2005
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Yay, another way for parents to get to not spend more time with their kids!

Johnny's crying again!
Oh just put on the BabyTV, that always shuts him up!
 

charper1

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Although I know people do that, I also know there are many more of us that would see it as one more tool or event to participate with our kids that are younger than 4 or 5yo and can't yet do everything that big brother and sister can do with us. But you are correct, some will abuse it. That is their fault, not TV's; IMHO.
 

mkatts

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jamielee said:
The channel 593 Baby First TV actually came on yesterday Wed 5/10, its running a scroll saying for a mothers day gift Directv is giving a freeview for the month of May. I would think this channel would be included in TC+, I cant believe that they want extra for it.


Isn't 594 the start of the porn channels? That's kinda funny isn't it?
 

damaged

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charper, of course you are right regarding not all parents will abuse it, as for my post which may seem to insinuate it's TVs fault alone, that was not it's intent, that being said, I _do_ consider it enabling with intent to profit, I know, I know, but hear me out...

We can assume DirecTv also knows there are parents who would abuse it, and it's probably fair to say the people who would get BabyTV likely fall into that catagory more oft then not, on top of that, they are charging for it, why?, because they know there are lots of households with parents who would use this as a baby pacifier of sorts in lieu of real life human interaction, because, 'studies' have shown XX% of households have 2 working parents who don't have time for the kids they shouldn't have had to begin with, and this channel would be seen by them as 'an educational tool (while we do our household stuff in the other room)'. Barring govermental involvement in todays woes, it is the parents fault first, then D*s fault for taking advantage of a well-known societal problem.

I admit, I am a cynic, and have probably blown this out of proportion to _some_ extent, nor am I looking to 'get' anyone on 'my side', it was just meant to get my point across. :)
 

joedekock

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For me... my kids can watch PBS and get their fill of Sesame Street, Barney, Arthur, Mr. Rogers, Bernstein Bears, etc... The upside to that is that it is free!

I don't see this channel lasting very long... especially if it is a subscription.
 

shugo77

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nhlfan79 said:
I have an 18-month-old son and Noggin (298) works just fine, thank you very much. I don't want him watching any more TV than he already does.

I have a 17 month old son and I agree with you 100%:up
 

DS0816

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Jan 24, 2006
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My prediction This channel will fail if there is a premium service charge for subscription. Apparently, it is headed that way.
 
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