Britain Considering Stronger Controls for On-Demand Content

Written by PTC | Published September 8, 2021

PTC Says U.S. Streamers Should Follow Britain’s Lead

LOS ANGELES (September 8, 2021) – The Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) suggested that streaming services in the U.S. consider stronger, more uniform, controls for on-demand content, given that Britain is considering tighter standards to match those of the British broadcasting industry.

According to Reuters, British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has suggested adding rules to on-demand and OTT streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ so that they conform to rules already in place for traditional, over-the-air broadcasters like BBC, ITV and Sky.

Echoing concerns the PTC has been sounding for years, and most recently in the PTC’s research report, Dollars and Sense: A Parent’s Guide to Streaming Media, the British government said “some service providers had introduced their own standards and procedures for audience protection - such as age ratings, pin-codes and content warnings - but they were inconsistent.”

“Our research of top streaming services has also found that content ratings, and other age-gating mechanisms, are wildly inconsistent in the U.S. market. We are glad to see Britain’s similar concerns being elevated. Streaming services should adopt similar standards as other TV platforms, and eagerly commit to putting best practices in place to better serve their users,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“For example, Paramount +, Peacock, and Hulu do not provide robust parental controls or enough distinction between age-appropriate programming. In fact, our research found Hulu to be the worst of the various platforms for parental controls, even failing to distinguish between content that would be suitable for a 7-year-old versus a 13-year-old.

“Streaming services must commit to improving their parental controls, to better protect children from harmful content that proliferates on most platforms. We urge streamers to follow Britain’s lead in advocating for more consistent standards,” Winter said.

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