Ion Media Networks plans initiatives on both its qubo digital network for kids and its Ion Life digital network to combat childhood obesity. The efforts include both campaigns for healthy eating and restrictions on ads which will air on the networks. "Ion remains committed to raising the bar for children’s programming through positive messaging directly in our programming content and by setting distinct standards for our advertisers. We are pleased to join our industry, the Federal Communications Commission and Congress to focus on providing a constructive television environment that will promote healthy lifestyle choices for children. Chairman Martin, Commissioners Copps and Tate and Senators Brownback and Harkin’s leadership is resulting in major positive changes in how our children will be exposed to food advertising on television," said Brandon Burgess, CEO of Ion Media Networks.
qubo, Ion’s joint venture with Scholastic, NBC Universal, Corus Entertainment and Classic Media/Big Idea, will not air national ads that feature unhealthy food and beverage choices and work with its advertising and marketing partners to promote the importance of healthy eating and active lifestyles. It will also craft storylines addressing good eating habits and physical activity in selected episodes of new original content and create over-the-air packaging and a PSA campaign that will emphasize the importance of eating healthy foods and performing physical activities. Ion Life, a health channel for adults, will provide a dedicated amount of program time focused on the diet, nutrition and fitness needs of children. "In the midst of a public health crisis of surging rates of childhood obesity and diabetes in children – these steps forward show that industry is headed in the right direction. I am hopeful that other media companies will commit to similar responsible initiatives," said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) in a statement praising Ion.
TVBR observation: It’s always nice to have friends in Washington. Both FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioner Deborah Tate issued statements yesterday praising Ion for its actions and its participation in the FCC’s Task Force on Media and Childhood Obesity. Tate also noted that qubo’s popular "Veggie Tales" is produced in her home state of Tennessee. The Commissioner’s frequent references to Tennessee, where she was long active in Republican politics, makes us wonder whether she has designs on running for office back there in future years.