PTC Issues Critique of TV Industry Group’s Streaming “Best Practices”

Written by PTC | Published September 28, 2021

LOS ANGELES (September 28, 2021) – The Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) welcomed the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board’s new “best practices” for streaming platforms, but cautioned that this is only a small step towards improving content ratings systems and parental controls. The PTC has been calling on streaming platforms to create Industry Best Practices Guidelines.

“These guidelines are a small step forward to resolve widespread inconsistencies in how programs are rated on streaming platforms. While we are encouraged that the TV industry is taking our suggestion to create more content ratings uniformity between various platforms, the industry, quite simply, needs to do more,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

“While the TV industry is trying to shore up content ratings between streaming platforms, the content ratings won’t help unless the ratings are accurately and consistently applied – which our research has proven they’re not, and that the blocking/parental controls are effective and consistent – which we’ve proven they’re not.

“Over the past few years, our research has found that Netflix programs targeted to teens and rated TV-14 still contained adult content that should have warranted a higher age-rating; and there is still inconsistency with age-gating mechanisms among the top streaming platforms.

“Amazon Prime, for example, bases restricted content on age, not on content rating – leaving some ambiguity as to what Amazon considers appropriate for a 16-year-old, for example, that would be too mature for a 13-year-old, but not explicit enough to be restricted to viewers 18 and over. Additionally, content descriptors should be used consistently across streaming platforms.

“It is also questionable that this is the second industry development on parental controls that the TV industry has released but has barely promoted. Surely, the TV industry should be lauding this development, but there is no grand public campaign to the degree that the industry is certainly capable.

“It is crucial for parents to be able to protect their children from age-inappropriate content, and to be able to rely on the content ratings and other safety measures. The TV industry needs to do more,” Winter added.

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