Saving the World's Largest
Archive of Prime-Time Network Television
Time and again we hear from
people asking, "How do you do it? How can you monitor every prime time
network television show between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.?"
Well, "It ain't easy!" as they say, and monitoring sexual references, foul
language, and violence is just the tip of the iceberg in the Parents
Television Council's efforts to bring responsibility to the entertainment
With an arsenal of VCRs and
televisions and a full-time team of entertainment analysts, a cadre of
interns, support staff, and a massive computerized database, the PTC leading
the charge to bring responsibility to the entertainment industry.
Each evening, the PTC records
every prime-time program on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, ITV, UPN, and the WB, as
well as original programming on expanded basic cable. The following day, the PTC's
team of entertainment analysts, with headphones, computers, and remote
controls in hand, watches and transcribes verbatim every offensive word and
every bit of sexual innuendo, and describes depictions of sexual activity
and violence in detail. These analysts are men and women with stomachs of
The information from the
analysts is fed into the PTC's custom-designed Entertainment Tracking System
(ETS). The staff uses the information to compile e-mail reports, monthly
newsletters, and in-depth studies. The researchers also use intelligence
from ETS to produce frequent press releases and alerts exposing TV's
gratuitous sex and graphic violence, and to educate sponsors about program
The PTC's research and
information are truly one-of-a-kind. Many in the entertainment industry,
including advertising executives, read the PTC's web site and reports every
Since 1989, the PTC has
recorded more than 100,000 hours of television programming on over 15,000 VHS
tapes. While information in ETS is an essential component of the PTC's
operation, the videocassettes are just as important, if not more so. There
is no other organization in the world that has this type of archive. The
PTC has more research on the networks than the networks have on themselves.
There is a hitch: Over time,
the cassettes disintegrate, and we are facing the possibility of losing our
archived material stored on VHS tapes. This would significantly impede the
PTC's ability to produce timely, quality, in-depth research and
publications. For the PTC, this would mean the difference between success
and failure in fulfilling our mission; effectively serving our members;
sharing information instantaneously with the public, the media, advertisers,
likeminded organizations; and reaching individuals directly.
Therefore, the PTC is seeking
funding to implement a new system of recording and archiving television
programming and associated cataloguing information – a digital one. The PTC
intends to reach two major objectives through the Digital Recording and
Archive Preservation Project:
1. Record the television
programming and the cataloguing information in a random-accessed,
non-perishable, versatile digital format onto computer hard drive -- with
subsequent transfer onto digital versatile discs (DVD), for long-term
storage in the PTC video archive.
2. Preserve the PTC video
archive from deterioration and loss by converting its existing recorded
programming from VHS tapes to DVD disks. This will ensure failure-free use
of the archived material and associated data in the PTC's research, and
timely delivery of high-quality, first-rate research data and media content
to our various constituents for multiple uses.
The benefits of the DVD
conversion will be enormous. The use of DVDs will make the PTC operation
more efficient and therefore, more effective. With DVD, our researchers can
instantly access a show or story without the lengthy period currently needed
for rewinding or fast-forwarding a tape. Sometimes, researchers must access
video footage from the archives several times a day. Quicker access to the
television programs will ease the process.
The conversion to DVD also
will enable us to capture the highest quality video images that won't
deteriorate over time, which means that we can post crisper, cleaner video
footage to our website, and we won't experience any loss in the quality of
the image when making copies of video tapes for news organizations or
like-minded groups. The conversion to DVD will also ensure that this
valuable information is accessible to generations to come.
The cost to implement such a
system is $2,181,800. The system can be fully implemented within one year,
and reach full operational capacity within three years.
If you are interested in
supporting the PTC archive conversion project, please call the PTC at (800)
882-6868 or (213) 403-1300. Major naming opportunities are available for
this exciting project.