Entertainment Tracking System:

State-of-the Art Television Monitoring System



The Parents Television Council's ability to scientifically track network and selected cable programs for sex, violence, and profanity is directly attributable to its state-of-the-art monitoring system, ETS. Conceived and designed by the PTC; ETS, or Entertainment Tracking System, allows the Parents Television Council to monitor every instance of sex, violence and profanity in network programs, and in many cable shows.


This research allows the organization to produce important studies such as "TV Bloodbath: Violence on Prime Time Network Television," "The Blue Tube: Foul Language on Prime Time Network TV," "The Sour Family Hour," and "Wired for Raunch."  Here's how it works: Every evening PTC VCRs record every prime time series on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, ITV, UPN, the WB, as well as original programming on expanded basic cable, including MTV. The following day, the PTC's entertainment analysts don their headsets, turn on their computers and grab the remote controls and set about the arduous work of transcribing verbatim every offensive word, every instance of sexual innuendo and violence in detail. These reports are fed into the PTC's custom-designed computer program.


The PTC is able to generate reports from the information collected by ETS. These reports form the basis of the organization's comprehensive studies, e-mail alerts and newsletters. ETS reports are provided to the Federal Communications Commission and other federal regulatory agencies, as they are the most reliable analysis of television programming available. Even the television networks do not have as comprehensive a resource as ETS. 


Today the PTC programming archive consists of more than 95,000 hours of programming on more than 14,000 video tapes. There is no other organization in the world that has this comprehensive library of television content analysis. The PTC has more research about the networks than the networks have themselves.


In addition to the well-documented reports produced by the PTC, ETS can be a gold mine for the advertising industry. ETS contains hours upon hours of television commercials. For example, if anyone wanted a historical representation of Coca Cola advertisements from 1989 to the present, it could be found at the Parents Television Council Virginia office. By special arrangements and under special circumstances, content is made available to the advertising industry.


When funding is available, the PTC will transfer all current video taped programming into digital. It is a major undertaking requiring staff time and significant monetary resources. But as the repository of the most comprehensive archive of television programming, it's a responsibility the PTC sees as important.  ETS is just one of the powerful tools that the PTC uses to affect positive change in the quality of television broadcasting.