Advertisers Defrauded by TV Content Ratings System

Written by PTC | Published April 14, 2016

The PTC warns top advertisers: the TV Content Ratings System cannot be trusted. In a letter to the top 200 TV advertisers, the Parents Television Council has warned that the TV Content Ratings System has not just defrauded parents, it has defrauded their companies, and urged them to reconsider using the age-based ratings to make ad buys. PTC research has exposed the widespread, systemic problems that render the TV Ratings System inadequate for protecting children from graphic sex, violence, and profanity on television. In the letter, PTC President Tim Winter writes, “If anything, the TV ratings system has only served to protect the interests of the content creators and distributors at the expense of children, families, and even the advertising community. “We know that many TV advertisers will not buy time on MA-rated programs. But you may not know that the broadcast networks have never used the TV-MA rating, despite the fact that many TV-14-rated programs contain explicit content that should be rated for mature audiences only. “In addition, our study revealed that there are fewer PG-rated programs on television during prime time, and regularly-scheduled series rated G (appropriate for all audiences) have been eliminated from the prime time broadcast schedule. (A recent addition to the prime time lineup, NBC’s Little Big Shots, is rated G and has been a ratings hit, proving that audiences want family friendly programming.) “This, despite the fact that a new study, commissioned by Scripps Networks Interactive and UP TV, reveals that ads seen in TV-G rated programming score substantially higher in generating attention and purchase intent than commercials appearing in television shows with TV-14 and TV-MA ratings,’ and that emotional engagement was 30 percent greater for ads appearing in TV-G shows compared to TV-14, and 173 percent greater in TV-G versus TV-MA. “America’s families deserve better. You deserve better. “When you are investing millions of dollars in television advertising, you deserve to know the truth about the content of programs your ad dollars will go to support. You should also be able to invest your advertising dollars on programs where the ads will be seen, will be remembered, and will engage the viewer. Because the networks have been squeezing out family-friendly programming, and mislabeling adult content on the programs that remain – you get neither the truth, nor the opportunity to maximize the impact of your ad dollars.” To learn more about why the TV Content Ratings System is failing and to read the PTC’s new study, visit

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