After the Fox Television Network decided last year that it was no longer going to provide its affiliates with FCC-friendly kids programming, DIC Entertainment was left without a major customer. Instead of giving up, the company saw an opportunity.
Fox, The WB, UPN and independent stations do not have networks that provide kids programming that meets the FCC's educational requirements. (Fox and The WB offer kids blocks, but the shows aren't necessarily FCC-friendly.) UPN affiliates no longer wanted their network to deliver them kids programming after Disney decided not to renew its contract with the netlet.
With 2,000 hours of kids programming in its library and new programs on the way, DIC offers four three-hour blocks of FCC-friendly programming, with three minutes of barter time available for stations to sell. Because each block is different, DIC could feasibly have blocks on four stations in one market. That means one 30-second spot in a DIC block could run on all four stations.
"It goes beyond kids programming. It's the service we're providing these stations," says David Ozer, senior vice president of domestic television for DIC. "It's one-stop shopping."
So far, DIC has cleared its blocks for fall 2003 on more than 450 television stations, including the Tribune group. Tribune Entertainment is handling the ad sales and back-end functions for DIC.
"It's a marriage made in heaven," says Bill Carroll, vice president of programming for Katz Television. "I think stations find it a very easy fit."
Besides offering the full three hours of FCC-friendly fare, DIC has a Web site with pre-filled-out paperwork so stations have to fill in only their local information before sending the forms on to the FCC.
Some DIC-produced shows offered in the blocks are Sabrina's Secret Life, Archie's Weird Mysteries, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, Stargate Infinity, Captain Planet and All Dogs Go to Heaven.