MPAA Launches 'Check the Box' Ratings Education Campaign

The Motion Picture Association of America took another step
in its promised campaign to better educate parents about content ratings.

That push comes in response to the Sandy Hook shootings and
follows increased pressure in Washington for a response from distributors of
violent media content, film, TV and video games.

In a speech to CinemaCon, the annual National Association of
Theatre Owners convention in Las Vegas, Dodd emphasized the family-friendly
movie fare on tap for summer release -- Monsters
, Despicable Me 2,The Smurfs 2 -- but also unveiled a
"check the box" campaign, including a PSA, encouraging
parents to check the ratings info in the ratings block on other film trailers
to make sure they are appropriate for their children.

MPAA has also made the ratings descriptors more prominent,
created educational materials -- including posters -- to be showcased in
theaters, and re-launched the film
ratings website.

The changes include replacing the somewhat enigmatic
advisory that "the following preview has been approved for
appropriate audiences" to "the following preview has been approved to
accompany this feature."

MPAA outlined the "check the box" campaign in an online
fact sheet.

The Parents Television Council, which has been highly
critical of studio content, was not assuaged.

"While we appreciate the MPAA's efforts to
supposedly supply new or additional information when providing an age-rating
for their films, the changes are essentially a distinction without a
difference," said PTC president Tim Winter. "This appears to us just
to be a PR effort by the MPAA to insulate themselves from public scrutiny."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.