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Parents Television Council - Because Our Children Are Watching


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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 industry.

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 steel.

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 content.

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 day.

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.




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