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February 19, 2012 6:12 AM   Subscribe

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.

"It does look different from human TV - the colors are different and the videos are taken from a dog's point of view." said Lisa Wilhoit McCormick, co-owner of Fido & Co. dog country club, which is the official home of DogTV. 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. Researchers found that dogs like "SpongeBob SquarePants" and harp music, among other things. Other DogTV shows include a pooch-eye view from outside car windows set to somber piano music, and the sound of panting. The FAQ is must reading.
posted by ga4ry (34 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dogs don't watch tv.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 6:24 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's my question.

This "cable network" is intended to be viewed by dogs, specifically by dogs who are home alone.

If this is the case, where's the profit?

I picture this sales pitch.... "Mr. Pet Store Owner, have I got a deal for you! You can advertise your dog treats right here on DogTV! 3,000 dogs within 10 miles of your store will watch your ads every day! What? Well, no, people don't watch this. No, these dogs don't have debit cards, well, most of them don't. Oh... "
posted by HuronBob at 6:36 AM on February 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Dogs will stare at the moving shapes on the screen in the same way their ancestors were transfixed by flames in a campfire.

From a TV industry perspective, the show does fit into the infamous category of "dog and cat programming"; if there's a warm body in the living room, and it can be counted as a viewer, that's got to be good for ratings...
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:39 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Perfectly crafted to push all the dog owners' buttons. What a beautiful example of Barnum's Law.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 6:40 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cable companies pay cable channels to carry their content, so you don't necessarily need advertisers if you can get by on those per subscriber fees. This content will be crazy cheap to produce, so it's not like they'll need a lot of money to turn a profit.

This would likely be a specialty channel that people would need to individually add to their plans, rather than placed in a tier with other programming (unless it's programming like the fishtank channel and the fireplace channel), but I'd guess there's still at least some audience out there for 'give me absolutely every channel', which will bring them some subscribers, and then they'd try to pick up some more intentional subscribers, too.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:51 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


It should be interesting in a year when it's realized that 95% of Dog TV's viewership is stoned teenagers.
posted by item at 6:54 AM on February 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


Just as humans enjoy watching Animal Planet and BBC Planet Earth documentaries that show the wonder of other species and organisms, I'm sure that our pets enjoy watching other species. Why limit them to just watching other dogs. Variety is the spice of life.
posted by Fizz at 6:55 AM on February 19, 2012


Squirrel!
posted by hal9k at 7:04 AM on February 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


So the lead-ins will be a wolf howl, a la SyFy, and then hundreds of chipmunks hurtling toward the screen in 3-D, and then footage leading to a car with the windows down, no wait, a convertible, and then....

I hope they recorded the brainstorming sessions for this one. It would be better than Kids in the Hall.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:16 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Other than the attention he gets from me checking on what he thinks of the programming my dog seems unimpressed.
posted by meinvt at 7:45 AM on February 19, 2012


I would watch the shit out of this channel.
posted by magstheaxe at 7:58 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


This might be better than what's on regular TV now. Good music, too.
posted by jwmollman at 8:01 AM on February 19, 2012


The samples are seriously awesome: arty dreamscapes soundtracked by dramatic piano music. Terry Malick, eat your heart out. I fear that they'll only have a small amount of programming repeated ad nauseum, though.
posted by item at 8:12 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of my cats is fond of black and white film noir classics shown on Turner Classic Movies. She'll actively watch, sometimes for the entire duration of the movie.

Neither of the cats seem particularly impressed by the iPad cat games I've downloaded.

It's hard to keep animals entertained sometimes.
posted by hippybear at 8:35 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


We watched Westminster last night and my male dog was certainly transfixed.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:36 AM on February 19, 2012


If it were my dog's version of TV, it would be an endless meadow where T-bone steaks fluttered about on butterfly wings.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:40 AM on February 19, 2012


Puppies puppies puppies puppies puppies.
posted by stevil at 9:28 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Theo is unimpressed. I, on the other hand, am transfixed by item's sample. Because I have an evil streak, though, I can't help imagining the Dog Horror Channel: thunderstorms, fireworks, trick or treaters and an unending stream of other dogs - with huge bones in their mouths - being walked right past your house.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:41 AM on February 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


Dogs don't watch tv.

That was true in the CRT days -- I think cats and dogs just saw the moving line of the raster beam, rather than images.

But now that LCD and plasma HD screens have persistent displays, suddenly they can see the images. That's why there's all those videos on Youtube of cats trying to catch bugs that are inside an iPad.

DogTV would have been useless in 2002, but it might just fly in 2012.
posted by Malor at 10:08 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


According to my scientific research consisting of turning these videos on and telling my dogs, "hey, look," dogs don't care about this.

However, they were transfixed by a documentary about wolves one time.
posted by cmoj at 11:55 AM on February 19, 2012


Data point: my cats love the news crawl at the bottom of CNN. They follow it across the tv and look for it to come out behind the set. They also love love LOVE it when I plug my laptop into the tv. They're obsessed with the cursor and make the same clicking noises at it that they make at birds outside.
posted by item at 12:53 PM on February 19, 2012


I don't have a cable box anymore so I can't get channel 2635. And it says it is $4.99 a month. Plus, I have cats that are species-ist and hate dogs. They love watching shows with birds on them. They also seem to like Aqua Teen Hunger Force episodes with the Mooninites.
posted by birdherder at 12:54 PM on February 19, 2012


The first time a dog knocks over a $1,500 flatscreen because he saw a fucking cat that was sitting right fucking there you guys and oh my god he hated that cat so much? That'll be the lawsuit that shuts down this whole thing.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 1:11 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


In other news, the Mitt Romney campaign plans to air an ad on DogTV, in which the GOP candidate declares to canines everywhere, "I'm not mean. I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you!"

The exact same ad is also slated to appear on the upcoming CatTV.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:48 PM on February 19, 2012


Ha--does anyone else remember the This American Life episode (from 2003) which included a few minutes on The Puppy Channel?

In concept, dogtv.com is almost identical, but they appear to be two distinct operations. When I heard that TAL I remember thinking it was a fantastic idea; sounds like someone finally got the numbers to work.
posted by eggman at 5:03 PM on February 19, 2012


The first time a dog knocks over a $1,500 flatscreen because he saw a fucking cat that was sitting right fucking there you guys and oh my god he hated that cat so much?

rick

rick

rick

have you seen me on that shiny box thing rick?
posted by hippybear at 5:15 PM on February 19, 2012


Dogs don't watch tv.

My dogs think TV is the best thing since UPS guys bearing Snausages. They also like to watch Younger Monster play video games, and bark enthusiastically at anything that sounds like a bell.
posted by MissySedai at 6:28 PM on February 19, 2012


Linus watched the sample for a few seconds, then found something else he was more interested in.

He was transfixed by the Puppy Bowl though.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:44 PM on February 19, 2012


This may be me admitting to being nuts, but what the hey. I have a dog who's still recovering from spinal surgery and dealing with long term separation anxiety. I bought her one of those dog daycare dvds and even if she doesn't watch them intently, it's helped keep her calm while I have to go off to work and before my partner gets back home.

So, yeah.. that's a piece of anecdote.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:27 PM on February 19, 2012


beaucoupkevin read my mind.

DogTV, brought to you by the friendly folks at GEICO.
posted by arcticseal at 1:12 AM on February 20, 2012


Of the two dogs I had, one didn't notice the TV at all, but the other one responded to dogs, cats, and horses that were onscreen. She would bark and occasionally run up to sniff the screen. Fortunately she never leapt at it.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:26 AM on February 20, 2012



So leaving the radio on NPR doesn't work anymore?

On the other hand, I'll be all over this for CatTV.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:23 AM on February 20, 2012


So leaving the radio on NPR doesn't work anymore?

Dogs get annoyed by the fundraiser drive to.
posted by Widepath at 9:51 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Other DogTV shows include a pooch-eye view from outside car windows set to somber piano music

Well, some dogs do love the piano.
posted by homunculus at 9:15 AM on March 3, 2012


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