Ion Cuts the Fat
Network is latest to respond to pressure from Washington and child-obesity activists
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/26/2007 9:34:00 PM
Ion Media Networks said Monday it will not air ads for "unhealthy food and beverage choices" in its children's or lifestyle shows.
Ion CEO Brandon Burgess is a member of a government-industry task force that is preparing to report to Congress with suggestions on how to trim the marketing fat in kids shows.
The new guidelines apply to Ion's qubo and Ion Life digital networks.
Ion says it will also promote healthy eating and exercising storylines in its programming; work with advertisers to promote healthy lifestyles; create PSAs; and present a three-hour branded block of qubo programming on Ion TV stations.
Under pressure from Washington and in recognition of the growing childhood obesity health crisis, particularly House Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-Mass.), numerous food advertisers and some cable networks have pledged to hold their kids ads to nutritional standards.
FCC Commission Deborah Taylor Tate, like Burgess, is a member of the task force and praised the Ion decision: "Ion's announcement demonstrates that the commitment to children's health is nationwide," she said in a statement. "VeggieTales, produced in Franklin, Tennessee [Tate's home state], is one of Ion's most popular children's programs. I am pleased that companies in every corner of America are joining the fight to end childhood obesity."
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