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Bookmark and ShareAugust 20, 2012

 

PTC Study: Nudity on the Rise on Broadcast TV


For years while the networks were challenging FCC fines in the courts we kept hearing from the networks that just because they can air indecent content doesn’t mean they will. There’s no need for the FCC to continue enforcing decency laws, they argued, "we respect our audience!"

Now we have evidence of just how much respect – or more appropriately, how little respect – broadcasters have for their audience… for you, for your family, for your children or grandchildren.

As reported in the LA Times this weekend, a new PTC study has found a staggering increase in the frequency and explicitness of pixilated nudity on the broadcast networks during primetime hours.

  • During the recently concluded television season there were 76 incidents of full nudity in 37 shows compared to 15 incidents in 14 shows the previous year, an increase of 407%.

  • Almost 70% of the scenes that depicted full nudity during the 2011 – 2012 study period were in shows that aired before 9:00 pm and as early as 7:00 pm. By comparison half of the full nudity scenes aired after 9:00 pm the previous year.

  • Out of the 76 instances of full nudity this past season, only 5 occurred in shows that carried an "S" descriptor which would alert parents to the presence of heightened sexual content.

  • The PTC documented only one instance of full frontal pixilated nudity in the 2010-11 television season, but 64 instances just one year later, an increase of 6300%.

  • There was a 2700% increase in the use of blurring or pixilation to cover body parts in the recently concluded television season compared to the previous year.

  • Two years ago, black bars/logos and/or conveniently placed objects in a scene were used to block the view of sexual organs from the viewer 87% of the time. This past year, 74% of the incidents of full nudity used blurring or pixilation to cover sexual body parts. The full body of flesh tones depicted during full body nudity scenes where sexual organs are blurred or pixilated could be perceived to be a closer simulation of complete frontal nudity given that the viewer is seeing all flesh tones.

Last year, you recall, the PTC also exposed the shocking spike in bleeped and unbleeped obscenities on broadcast TV during primetime viewing hours.

More sex, more profanity… even though survey after survey have shown that the American people think there is already too much sex and profanity on TV. It is abundantly clear that the networks have no interest in or intention of following the wishes of the very public whose broadcast airwaves they license and profit from.

Recent studies have revealed how damaging these messages are for impressionable youngsters. One study found that children as young as six equate being sexy with being popular, while another study revealed that teens who were exposed to high levels of sexual content in films "start having sex at younger ages, have more sexual partners, and are less likely to use condoms with casual sexual partners."

If left unchecked and unchallenged, Hollywood will continue on this path until broadcast TV is undistinguishable from premium cable networks like Showtime, HBO, or Cinemax.

The PTC is here to stand in the gap, to demand decency and responsibility from the entertainment industry. We pushed the FCC to do a better job of enforcing broadcast decency laws, and fought for higher fines against broadcasters found to be in violation of those laws. When the networks challenged those fines in court, the PTC pushed the FCC to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. The PTC has challenged advertisers to change their sponsorship behavior and is working with producers and advertisers to get more family-friendly programming on air. In short, the PTC is doing what the networks won’t do. We’re fighting for you and your families to ensure a safer TV environment.

But as this latest study shows, there’s still a lot of work to be done. We urgently need your help to keep our advertiser accountability and broadcast decency campaigns going. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the PTC today… Because Our Children Are Watching.

 

 

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