While Time Warner Cable and CBS continue their dogfight in a few major metro markets, a new cable channel, DOGTV, made its nationwide debut last weekend. The subscription-based network is designed for dogs, to keep them busy during the day when their owners are out. The 24/7 programming is available on DirecTV, via Roku boxes and online streaming. PRNewser learned the latest on the unique channel from Ron Levi, DOGTV’s founder.
Pet experts and animal trainers developed the content, aimed at entertaining, stimulating and relaxing dogs. They’re using real-world sounds, music, objects and animated movements, in three-to-five minute video segments. (about the same attention span as for human online video viewing). The goal is for canines who watch DOGTV to be less stressed, bored, depressed, and not as likely to experience separation anxiety. Plus, their owners will feel less guilty about leaving them behind. DOGTV employees can bring their dogs to work, though. As Levi noted, “They assist us with quality control.”
Levi commissioned extensive research to arrive at the right programming balance. Testing included monitoring dogs watching DOGTV at home. As a result, they eliminated barking sounds and shouting, which agitated canine viewers. Instead, they opted for stimuli to acclimate dogs to everyday life, such as car noises. Levi said “programs are all filmed according to dogs’ unique senses of vision and hearing. While all content is produced in-house, we’re open to ideas for future shows for dog parents.”
DOGTV’s popularity has exceeded expectations, Levi reported. While the channel doesn’t show ads, they have various partners. “For our pre-sale we partnered with Dog Is Good, Pet Best, Rover.com, and Pet Product Advisor to deliver a welcome kit to early subscribers”. He also noted the network’s involvement with animal charities. “Every time your dog enjoys DOGTV, pets in need are helped. DOGTV supports HSUS’ (Humane Society of the U.S.) Pets for Life program to extend the reach of animal services, resources and information to under-served areas.”
The new channel has sparked debate about the pros and cons of canines being couch potatoes. A couple media outlets questioned if dogs will really watch TV, if they’d rather just sleep and if they’ll end up getting enough exercise during the day. While DOGTV is still in learning mode, it seems the channel does offer a welcome option for some dogs. Though many dog owners are devoted, others are digitally-distracted, so not all canines receive adequate attention.
DOGTV covered its social and digital media tracks with a mobile app, newsletter and Alpha Dog blog, and Levi said guest bloggers are welcome. The channel is active on major social networks and their website features an extensive Q & A section. One question asks, “Should I watch DOGTV with my dog or leave him alone”? The answer: watching together on the first viewing is recommended. However, there’s no advice offered about who has dibs on the remote control.
Also, check out MediabistroTV’s video about DOGTV here.