TV network aims for new viewing audience: dogs
By Marty Graham
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Nielsen isn't tracking the network's ratings and broadcasters aren't copying its programs -- not yet, anyway. But a new cable TV station has a fresh audience in its backyard and tails are wagging excitedly.
DogTV, a cable network for dogs, launched in San Diego this past Monday aimed at stay-at-home canines and their workaday owners who want to feel better about time apart. Free at launch, people will eventually pay $4.99 a month for the channel, but that may seem a small for sum for fido's peace of mind.
"We find it helps with separation anxiety, a problem for many dogs, and with keeping dogs relaxed and entertained," said Lisa Wilhoit McCormick, co-owner of Fido & Co. dog country club here, which is the official home of DogTV. "It does look different from human TV - the colors are different and the videos are taken from a dog's point of view."
She said the idea arose from people with stay-at-home dogs who couldn't bring them to a day care facility like Fido & Co. while the owners were at work.
Americans spent more than $45 billion on their pets in 2009, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. A growing number of the 63 percent of American households with pets are spending more than $4 billion a year on grooming, boarding and doggie day care. So, why not TV?
Dog psychologists and behavior experts put about 400 hours into researching what TV-watching pooches like to see and hear and how programs should look.
DogTV's scientific advisory board includes Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a professor of veterinary medicine and behavior at Tufts University and British dog trainer Victoria Stillwell.
"Every dog has a little different taste in programming," Neumann said. "We have learned a lot and we're hoping to learn more from this launch," according to DogTV chief executive officer Gilead Neumann. Continued...