Differentiating through the Demand of Dogs


DirectTV is catering to not only humans, but to dogs as well. My dog would be thrilled! How about yours? The only option available to my pup right now is the Puppy Bowl, which we have to record so he can watch all year long. Today, dogs have their own parks, Facebook pages, stores, so why not a TV channel as well?  DirectTV is not only catering to the dogs but also providing help for the families they belong to. The new DogTV will keep these puppies occupied while moms, dads, or children can keep up with their daily tasks without any barking or begging. DirectTV is definitely differentiating from other cable providers with this strategy.

In class, we discussed the strategy of competing through differentiation. I have learned about differentiation in the past, but it is always interesting to see examples of companies using the concept to their competitive advantage. Through their new channel, DirectTV is now implementing this concept and can be seen through the Chicago Tribune’s article, “DirectTV to broadcast channel for dogs.” Differentiating, as discussed is the advantage of being better or different in regards to a company’s product or service. No company wants to be like another so, differentiating is the concept designed to compete through uniqueness.

As mentioned in the article, DogTV is currently only available through online streaming or for select subscribers in California. Is DirectTV testing out their new channel in case it fails to provide the benefits that it hopes for? As one of the larger cable providers, this could solely be a test run for all the other companies as well. If DogTV were to fail, other companies such as WOW or AT&T Uverse will be able to see if there is a demand for this type of channel without hurting their company. But, if DogTV does in fact succeed, these similar companies may need to expand on their differentiation strategies in order to remain in the competition. While it is hard to believe that a channel for dogs could change the face of cable television, DirectTV is currently taking a big risk with this target in either helping or hurting those other companies within the market. Once or if available nationwide, will this create a demand for DirectTV as households’ main cable provider? Through reading the article and understanding the new concept, I thought about whether or not DirectTV is trying to create a higher demand for their service through creating a demand for dogs. This idea may seem silly but could also provide success. We will find out this coming fall when the company is supposedly launching the availability for this channel nationwide. Again, further information on this topic can be found here.


12 thoughts on “Differentiating through the Demand of Dogs

  1. This definitely an interesting article. I am a dog lover, so this really caught my eye. A channel for dogs sounds little bit crazy. I am not sure that this channel will work, but it is surely a great marketing trick to attract all the dog lovers and eventually if this concept works we can have specialized channels of other members of our Animal Kingdom. I wish dish TV good luck !!!!

  2. I, like many others, am a dog lover also. I have grown up with dogs all my life and have always enjoyed watching television with them. I thought this was a great idea for the simple fact that I have plopped down in front of the tv with my dog, turned on the animal planet channel and watched him bark and snares at the tv, all while laughing till I cried at how funny it was. Direct tv does differentiate itself from the rest of the market, but will this one channel really draw all dog lovers in? I doubt it. I would be interested in trying it but not interested in changing subscriptions.

  3. Differentiation yes, but I’m not sure it will provide any real competitive advantage. It’s certainly an interesting concept, but as another commenter mentioned, I wouldn’t leave my current provider for it. If nothing else though, the idea is getting directv in the news. I have a dog as well, and I have seen the spaz sit in my living room watching the Puppy Bowl barking and whining. It’s adorable, but I can’t say it’s quite significant enough to justify the huge cancellation fee from Comcast…As the channel evolves, however, it will be interesting to see other companies react (or not) with like services.

  4. Although this is definitely an interesting idea, I’m not sure that a channel for dogs will be a big hit for Direct TV. As a pet owner myself, I would rather buy my dog something he can play with and enjoy for $5.99, rather than an extra TV channel. There is no doubt that this is a very unique idea for Direct TV, but I don’t think it will differentiate them enough to become the service leader. Another important point is that this channel will only be targeted to people with dogs (that are willing to pay six bucks extra a month). That leaves out a large portion of their target customers who do not own dogs. I don’t think there are going to be enough people interested in purchasing the channel who will actually b willing to changing cable providers. Also, if we don’t want our young children to watch TV, why would we want our dogs too? Could people eventually resort to letting their dogs watch TV instead of going out to play? Only time will tell.

  5. I can relate to this because I myself have a dog. For sun we put on YouTube videos of dogs running around or barking just to see him run after them. When I first read this article, I thought this obviously won’t succeed, as I will assume many people without dogs would think. But now finishing the article I can see the concept. We leave our dog alone when we go out to dinner or grocery shopping and I always leave the TV on. It might just be because I think he will feel better if he is not alone and can hear the sound of someone’s voice but it could also be that he watches TV. There are a lot of dog lovers in the world and there is even a café in Chicago where you can go to eat and they also have a menu for your dog, so why not a dog TV station?

  6. The concept of providing a television channel specifically for dogs seems very “far-fetched.” I like the idea of having a channel for dog-lovers, like Animal Planet, but will dogs really sit quietly and actually watch TV? I think that dogs should be given chew-toys or placed in a backyard to play if their owners cannot be with them. In the United States, we are currently fighting childhood obesity, creating ways for children to stay active and be outside more often. Should we not follow the same thought processes for our pets? I think it could be a profitable idea to have a “dogs only” TV station, but it should be geared towards dog owners, not dogs. I am very curious to see how this trial channel does, if implemented throughout the entire United States. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I found this post extremely interesting probably because I have a dog, am a dog lover, and have recently watched a coupled documentaries about dogs. Throughout my life I have had two dogs and have caught both of them staring at the TV from time to time, watching whatever I am watching. In a recently documentary, Dogs Decoded, scientist are studying dogs to prove that they are in tune with humans, and that they are the only species that can fully understand our demands and emotions. In the video the scientists performed a test called “the pointer test” where a person would point to an object and the animal would go to it. Both dogs, wolves and monkeys were used in the test; dogs were the only animal that obeyed the person and walked toward the object. With this said I would not be surprised if DirectTV is on to creating a great product. I do not believe that they would have taken on this new venture without doing their research, and if the puppy channel does not end up appealing to dogs I am sure that there are dog lovers who would enjoy watching it so it could end up being a win/win situation.

  8. It doesn’t seem like a terrible idea, but it is directed at a very niche market, right? Because first you can only really appeal with this channel to customers that have dogs. Then you lose the interest of customers that have boring dogs, like me. I have a bichon frise and he just lays around everywhere. He has little to no interest in what is happening on the TV. That being said, the idea of a channel directed at dogs is very low-risk and probably quite cheap. All they really have to do is add it to an existing business model’s line-up and suddenly they can throw it on all their marketing materials. Seems like a very plausible idea.

  9. A dog channel would certainly differentiate DirecTV! And it is not such a bad idea either. Although I don’t see this converting anyone into new DirecTV subscribers it can help in a number of ways. Firstly, I would not doubt the affinity dog owners have with their pets and the lengths they would go to in order to satisfy them. This is a very strong and large niche group to target. Going after niche groups is more of a grassroots strategy and it’s interesting to see a large corporation take this strategy. Finally, many think very specific content streaming is the future of tv. If so, DirecTV is already preparing for the future, today.

  10. As a dog owner myself, I find this post really intriguing; I have actually wondered myself if dogs/pets really watched TV! However, for DirecTV to try answering this question while sticking out from the market seems pretty risky, so I am not entirely sure if it is a really successful idea. Yes, it does help to differentiate the cable company from its competitors, and as a first mover many other companies could start to follow suit, but in the long run I do not see DogTV as being very profitable. I persoally think that giving subscribers a channel meant solely for pets does not add as much as value as, say, ensuring some sort of exclusivity between DirecTV and really popular cable channels. Going off of a previous commenter, I also doubt that dogs will have enough of an attention span to watch DogTV for hours on end while their owners are occupied with other things; plus, animals are meant to roam around and play freely, not be couch potatoes! Of course, we will all just have to see what happens with DogTV in the future, but it is no doubt an interesting niche for the business to fulfill. Great post!

  11. This post definitely caught my attention because I am an absolute dog lover and own two adorable poodles! DirectTV is certainly differentiating themselves from the competition by bringing this dog channel into the market. As some of you guys have commented, this channel is targeted to dog owners and I would add that it is targeting dog owners who specifically like to spoil their dogs. Nowadays, dog owners take their dogs to spas, get their nails done, go to day care and even wear brand name clothing, shoes and accessories. I think a dog channel is a very clever idea. I think many of the dog owners who spoil their dogs could care less about paying $5.99 for this subscription. I also think that this channel will attract some businesses to subscribe to this channel as well such as Petco, Petsmart, dog day care centers etc. Despite how ridiculous it may sound to leave a dog to watch TV while you are not home, this channel might gain popularity not only because their dogs are entertaining themselves but perhaps the advertisements might be pretty cool and be worth watching. This sounds like a great idea but as my classmates mentioned, only time will tell if it will be a success.

  12. Direct TV is definitely differentiating themselves by targeting this niche market, but will this approach really place them above competition? It will be interesting to see the outcome. I do think that there is a huge market for pets or specifically pet-lovers, where many are willing to provide everything they can for their furry friend. Having a very energetic husky which constantly wants to play, would I personally pay for this channel? I don’t really know yet if I would but if there is success in California, resulting in an effective method of having a dog entertained for a bit, then I would maybe consider. But as someone stated above, will TV for dogs have some addictive effect as it does for humans? I really hope not, I would rather have my husky running around all day than seeing him plopped on the couch staring at a screen.

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