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A barker channel is a form of electronic media known as digital signage. It is a TV channel that is entirely composed of sales promotion and advertising, usually marketing various features of the service carrying the channel. The name is derived from the circus barker, who stood outside a circus and shouted to passers-by to encourage them to enter a circus.
There are several barker channels on digital cable systems and especially on direct broadcast satellite systems like DirecTV. On interactive TV systems, these also allow for ordering of pay-per-view TV programs or other pay TV services. TV Guide Network before its 2008 purchase by Lionsgate and subsequent conversion into a general entertainment channel functioned essentially as a barker channel with film and program descriptions. During its years as Prevue Guide, it served as a barker channel outright.
Barker channels are normally free-to-view or occasionally free-to-air, even without a subscription. This also indicates success in installation of satellite systems, and particularly in aiming small satellite dishes.
An example of a barker channel is The NBA League Pass Preview Channel, which is used to advertise and promote the NBA League Pass package on digital cable and satellite systems. In a technical form one-sport specialty channel such as NBA TV, NFL Network, NHL Network and MLB Network could be considered barkers which may push devoted viewers into ordering those leagues' respective pay-per-view packages to watch complete games.
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