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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2007


PTC Declares the Industry's V-Chip Education Campaign a Failure

New Zogby Poll Data Shows Blocking Technologies Aren't Used and Aren't Understood

 

LOS ANGELES (March 15, 2007) – The Parents Television Council™ gave the television industry a failing grade on a "Progress Report" of the combined $550 million dollar advertising campaigns created to teach parents about the television ratings system. To provide evidence of the failure, the PTC released the results of questions conducted on two Zogby International polls in September 2006 and March 2007.  The polls correspond to the genesis of and the reporting deadline of The TV Boss campaign.

 

"The television industry has repeatedly violated the public trust by airing offensive and indecent content over the public airwaves and by forcing cable subscribers to foot the bill for cable networks they don't want, don't watch, and may actually find harmful or offensive.  Then the industry dodges any responsibility for its own product by saying that it is the public's job to shield itself if the content is harmful or offensive.  Two years ago it was a $250 million campaign, and last year it was a $300 million campaign.  Even after spending a combined $550 million, the evidence clearly shows that these campaigns and the industry's effort to absolve itself from any responsibility for the content it produces have failed.  The data shows that there has been no movement in public attitudes about the problem, nor any enthusiasm evidenced for the industry's solution," said PTC™ President Tim Winter.

 

"If the goal was to increase awareness and usage of the V-chip, then the campaign has failed, and someone, somewhere, deserves a $300 million refund.  If the goal was not to increase awareness and usage of the V-chip, then what was the goal?  The only other goal I can discern is that the TV Boss campaign was designed solely to placate the Congress and to deflect any further attention to the growing tide of graphic sex, violence and profanity during the hours when children are watching television.

 

"The two-pronged solution here is simple.  First, if broadcasters want to use the public airwaves – public property – to deliver their product to every home in the country for free, then they must abide by the indecency law as prescribed by Congress, affirmed by the Supreme Court and enforced by the FCC.  And second, the cable industry must give parents and families real parental control and let them select and pay for only the cable networks they want coming into their homes.

 

"Parents don't need any more lectures from the industry.  Rather, the industry needs to clean up its act.  Consumers and Congress should not be fooled when the fox once again asks us to trust it to guard the henhouse."

 

The PTC paid for a few questions to be included in omnibus telephone surveys of adults nationwide, conducted by Zogby International.  For the September 2006 survey, the target sample was 1,000 interviews with approximately 74 questions asked.  The margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points.  The survey was conducted between September 12-14, 2006.  For the March 2007 survey, the target sample was 1,004 interviews with approximately 39 questions asked.  The margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points.  The survey was conducted between March 1-2, 2007.

 

Results:

 

Sex, Violence, and Coarse Language

Q: Do you agree or disagree that there is too much sex, violence and coarse language on television?

 

March 2007

79% agreed

18% disagreed

3% not sure

September 2006

80% agreed

16% disagreed

4% not sure

 

Frequency of Using V-Chip

Q: In the past week, how many times have you used your V-chip or cable box parental controls to block unwanted content from your television?

 

March 2007

5% - one to three times

 

1% - four to five times

 5% - more

 than five

 times

 88% - not at

 all/don't have

 

1% - not sure

September 2006

3% - one to three times

2% - four to five times

 7% - more

 than five

 times

 87% - not at

 all/don't have

 

1% - not sure

 

Identification of Content Descriptors

Q: The television ratings system, along with the use of the V-chip, is designed to help provide guidance for the audience.  Shows are supposed to be rated according to the type of content found in each show.  With that in mind, which of the following best describes what the D, L, S and V television show content descriptors stand for in a TV-PG-rated show?

 

March 2007

41% chose -

D for Drug Use, L for Language, S for Sexual Content, and V for Violence

9 % chose -

D for Drug Use, L for Infrequent Coarse Language, S for Some Sexual Situations, and V for Moderate Violence

 9 % chose -

 D for Drama, L

 for Some Coarse

 Language, S for

 Sexual Content,

 and V for Moderate

 Violence

8% correctly chose – D for Some Suggestive Dialogue, L for Infrequent Coarse Language, S for Some Sexual Situations, and V for Moderate Violence

 33% chose -

 not

 sure/none/

 other

September 2006

34% chose -

D for Drug Use, L for Language, S for Sexual Content, and V for Violence

10 % chose -

D for Drug Use, L for Infrequent Coarse Language, S for Some Sexual Situations, and V for Moderate Violence

 10% chose –

 D for Drama, L

 for Some Coarse

 Language, S for

 Sexual Content,

 and V for Moderate

 Violence

7% correctly chose – D for Some Suggestive Dialogue, L for Infrequent Coarse Language, S for Some Sexual Situations, and V for Moderate Violence

 40% chose -

 not

 sure/none/

 other

 

 

Remarks of Tim Winter Regarding PTC's Zogby-Commissioned Questions

 

To schedule an interview with a PTC representative, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.


The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.

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