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DOGTV is trotting into more territories, announcing its first expansion into Europe with Deutsche Telecom in Germany.
The California-based company is the world’s first and only television channel for canine companions and features a content mixture of relaxation, stimulation and exposure-oriented programming.
Following Germany, the company has plans to roll out in the UK, Ireland and France within a few months. It is already available in the U.S., South Korea, Japan and Israel, countries that all have strong “dog footprints” of homes with pampered pets.
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“For countries that are more rural and dogs are outside most of the day, those countries are not relevant for us. Europe is a natural place for expansion. In most of the countries something between 30 -50 percent are dog households. It’s a niche channel, but that’s a pretty big niche,” DOGTV vp of international distribution Yoav Ze’evi tells The Hollywood Reporter.
He compares the numbers to the Golf or Fishing Channels in the U.S., which are relevant to a very small number of the population but still considered mainstream.
Since the channel’s demographic audience has four legs and no thumbs, dogs are at the programming mercy of their owners. Though DirecTV in the U.S. doesn’t provide ratings, Ze’evi says they do give the company some data. Coupled with their active social network they have their finger on the pulse of dog programming preferences.
“We get constant feedback from people about what the dogs are watching, when they’re watching, what time of day, for how long, so we have a built in focus group that we didn’t have to invest in and we’re learning from that in every area from scheduling to music,” he said of their Facebook feed.
They are also getting a constant stream of user-generated videos, from shaky phone shots to full HD. Though the channel’s primary objective is to provide content for dogs, the humans’ passion to film their furry friends has also led to the addition of some person-focused programming.
The new show Dog Star will be built around the submitted content, and they’ve added a two-hour block of programming focusing on dog nutrition and health from 8 – 10 p.m. in the U.S. market. If the pilot program is successful it will be rolled out in other markets as the channel expands.