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Multimillion Dollar TV Brand Targets Children Worldwide
Fox Kids and Disney plan new venture called Jetix to capture the minds of children all over the world.

Economics used to be thought of as referring to those activities which feed, clothe, and house people most efficiently. But modern corporations are not doing just that anymore, of course. They are fully involved in the creation of cultural products, that is, they want to capture the minds of people with certain ideas and "values".

It is not the family, not the school, not the church, not even civic society which are the most powerful institutions influencing children's minds today. It is the modern corporation.

The article below from The Guardian demonstrates how modern corporations plan to try to capture the minds of children worldwide in a new television venture. It would seem, in a democratic society, that this would concern people, especially parents raising families. But so many have been convinced that corporations should basically be free to do whatever they want that it is hard to mount political opposition to such efforts.

Read the following article and consider the implications of this marketing effort to children:

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By Matt Wells, media correspondent Friday January 9, 2004 The Guardian

At the moment, the word Jetix does not mean anything to anyone apart from some very important television executives. But, as a result of a multi-million dollar marketing alliance announced by some of the biggest global media names yesterday, millions of children around the world will soon be in its thrall.

Fox Kids, the worldwide children's television brand launched by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, and ABC Cable Networks, which is run by Disney, unveiled a corporate revolution that will result in children in countries as far apart as Israel and Brazil feasting on an action-adventure diet of Power Rangers, X-Men, Spiderman and Inspector Gadget.

"Jetix will be among the most widely distributed television brands for kids around the world and a showcase for new and existing action-adventure programmes, including the new season of the best-known series in the genre, Power Rangers," said Anne Sweeney, president of ABC Cable Networks Group and Disney Channel Worldwide.

It is a formidable partnership. Fox Kids and ABC claim that programmes produced and broadcast under the new banner, mainly animation, will reach 137m households in 77 countries in 18 languages. The alliance will enable the broadcasters to share costs in buying programmes, as well as making them.

The name will appear first in the US next month, with Jetix-branded programmes appearing in the morning on the ABC Family network, and in prime time on Toon Disney.

In Europe and the Middle East, Fox Kids channels will start to show Jetix programming blocks in April; in the autumn, the channels will be renamed Jetix. The same process will be mirrored in Fox Kids channels in Latin America.

Bruce Steinberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Fox Kids Europe, said the Jetix name was an "empty vessel" into which the companies' brand values would be injected. It implied action, adventure, humour and edginess, he said.

Fox Kids Europe was sold by Mr Murdoch in 2001. It is now in multiple ownership, with Disney holding a controlling stake.

The alliance will alarm many people already concerned at the apparently unstoppable march of media globalisation. The subject is particularly sensitive in children's broadcasting, where TV programmes are used as hooks to induce parents to buymerchandise.

Mr Steinberg said the move would increase choice, rather than impose a diet of mind-numbing programmes. He said that Fox Kids channels around the world make and schedule their own programmes.

Susan Stranks, the former children's TV presenter who campaigns for better children's radio, said judgment should be reserved on the new venture: "A lot of parents are concerned about the violence in some animation these days: I think it's a matter of balance."

Source:

http://media.guardian.co.uk/broadcast/story/0,7493,1119314,00.html

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Date Added: 1/9/2004 Date Revised: 1/9/2004 11:12:21 AM

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