December 2015 Chairman’s Report

I am happy to say that we can count a recently launched cable television network, FidoTV, as an important advocate for AKC.

Ten years ago, the American Kennel Club took a bold step with a communications campaign that became the catalyst for a new corporate effort – to clearly establish and reinforce the American Kennel Club as the authority and advocate of purebred dogs in the eyes of the American public.  Since then, AKC has made tremendous strides in bolstering our influence in the media, staking our claim in the digital space with stellar social growth.  We have been supported along the way by organizations like Eukanuba, Royal Canin, Nestle Purina and others who have played an important part in making our messaging about responsible dog ownership accessible to so many.  I am happy to say that we can now count a recently launched cable television network, FidoTV, among our important advocates as well. This new television venture, which went live on October 14, is a twenty-four hour a day, seven-days-per-week network that features content devoted one hundred percent to dogs. Because our sport will have a significant role in the programming line-up, its creators believe FidoTV will allow the dog fancy to capture at last our rightful share of the television market.

Of course we are living in the Internet age, so some of you may ask, why does AKC care about cable TV when it comes to dogs?  We know that 54.4 million households in this country own approximately 77.8 million dogs.  We also know there are 116 million television viewing households in the United States.  The number of people in American TV households is estimated to be nearly 300 million.  Approximately 95% of all U.S. homes with televisions are receiving traditional TV signals via broadcast, cable, satellite or the internet.  And cable plays a major part; about 83% of all households nationwide subscribe to some form of pay-TV service.  While it is true that people are spending somewhat fewer hours a month watching TV, it is also still true that people spend on average more than one hundred hours a month watching television.  And TV still leads every other device among consumers, by a lot. People watching video on the Internet is up to about 17.5 hours per month.  This is why those in the business say “TV is still king.” 

The fact that there is such a broad television audience means that there are channels for everyone.  FidoTV will become the one for those of us who are truly passionate about dogs.  And while there will be the types of shows one might expect to capture a mass audience, the purebred dog fancy and AKC events will be given a strong voice.  As you may know, the upcoming AKC Eukanuba National Championship will be shown live on FidoTV, close captioned in real time.

Past AENC highlights also aired this past week on the network; FidoTV began airing the 2013 Groups on December 4th in Prime Time, with one Group featured per evening.  The 2014 AENC will be aired tonight, December 11th.  The 2015 live events follow this weekend, on the 12th and 13th.  And there will be an Encore Presentation of this year’s show on Christmas Eve and Christmas Night.

Notably, a great deal of new dog-related content is being produced now. Twelve breed shows are in production now for a series called “Which Woof’s For Me?”  This educational series will begin airing in February and will feature experienced AKC breeders and quality dogs with successful records in our events.  There is also the plan to televise some AKC events hosted by our clubs so that the public can see and experience a wide variety of dog competitions.  This channel is bringing all dog-related interests into the fold – and AKC’s interests will be given precedence wherever possible.  There will be general interest shows and feature length movies, all featuring dogs.  Rescue shows, for example, will feature the AKC rescue network. 

FidoTV also has a mobile app, where you can see short form videos and a “find a puppy” function which links directly to AKC.org for information about breeders and the AKC Rescue Network.

FidoTV has been in development over the past five years and is the brainchild of Vizsla fancier and AKC Hunt Test Judge Tad Walden.  As a dog lover with a professional background in television production and programming, Tad was inspired to fill what he saw as a void in the menu of viewing options for people who are passionate about dogs.

Many of us know Animal Planet, but keep in mind, that channel is targeted for all kinds of animals and not specifically dogs, as FidoTV is.  Animal Planet’s catchphrase is “Surprisingly human.” FidoTV’s brand position slogan, on the other hand, is All dogs, All day.” Its primary demographic is women 25 and older.

FidoTV is currently carried on Dish Network – its home on that satellite service provider is channel 245.  Dish is the third largest carrier in the country, with 14 million households.  The FidoTV team is in negotiation with other carriers at this time.  I would encourage all of you to contact your carrier and tell them you want FidoTV.  Visit fidotvchannel.com and click on TV Partners.  A list of cable providers will come up, and an easy form will help you tell your carrier that you want FidoTV. AKC recently started spreading this news, and in our first effort, over 13 thousand phone calls and emails to carriers were achieved. Approximately two and a half million people have been engaged in FidoTV’s publicity so far, and I hope you will all be a part of that growing number. 

For those who do not have Dish satellite service, there are other ways to view the AKC Eukanuba National Championship:  In addition to FidoTV’s live airings, the evening competition will be streamed live beginning at 6:00 pm each night on akc.org and live.eukanuba.com. The Bred-By Exhibitor groups, Veteran groups, Junior Showmanship Finals, agility and obedience will be taped and will be available on demand at akc.org and live.eukanuba.com.

During your time at the Convention Center, I encourage you to visit FidoTV’s booth on the show floor. They will have a live feed of the channel and they will have laptops on site for people to email and contact their respective cable companies via Facebook and Twitter, urging them to carry the channel.  A five minute visit to the FidoTV booth will go a long way in telling the cable companies that “life is better with dogs!”  Let’s show them dog people are as passionate and as economically important as sports fans.  Let’s do our part to bring dogs, our sports and the AKC to broader audiences in living rooms across the country.

I hope everyone has a wonderful time this weekend in Orlando.  Here’s to a happy, healthy holiday season filled with family, friends, and of course -- dogs.

 

Sincerely, 

Ron Menaker