PTC Issues Cord-Cutters Guide to Streaming Services

(Image credit: PTC)

In its first report under its rebrand as the Parents Television & Media Counsel, PTC said there are upsides and downsides to streaming media that families need to weigh. In its analysis of economic and other factors, it concluded that ad supported streaming services Paramount Plus, Peacock and Hulu are the most cost-effective and Netflix has the best parental controls, while Disney Plus gets the nod for family-friendliest.

The PTC name change (it has decided to keep the initials) was meant to reflect the group's growing focus on streaming video as where parents and their kids are increasingly turning for entertainment.

Also Read: PTC Changes Name to Reflect Rise in Streaming

Particularly during the pandemic, the video distribution of choice has been online streaming, which has been reflected in PTC's activities.

In March, for example, the group issued an advertiser advisory about Hulu content. Last fall, it took aim at Netflix's Cuties, but also applauded Disney Plus's deal with ClearPlay.

PTC is pitching the report, "Dollars and Sense: A Parent’s Guide to Streaming Media," as a resource guide for parents trying to decide whether to cut the traditional MVPD cord in favor of streaming media, looking at both the economic and noneconomic impacts.

PTC's top-line takeaway:

• "We found that although families can realize (sometimes significant) cost-savings now by switching to streaming services, there are associated risks. Streaming content can be far more explicit than what most families are used to from broadcast and cable, and often the parental controls are inadequate to protect children from explicit material. And given the push from media conglomerates to rebundle content, these cost savings may not last long, leaving many families worse-off financially than they were before.

Other key findings:

• "From a cost perspective alone, advertiser supported streaming services like Paramount+, Peacock and Hulu are the most cost-effective, and have the added advantage of giving you access to live TV."
• "Disney+ provides the best economic value for families with young children who are looking primarily or exclusively to stream family-friendly content."
• "Amazon Prime Video has many hidden costs, including additional “channels” and options to rent or buy that make Amazon’s program inventory appear deceptively large, as many titles will appear in a search that cannot be viewed without the
addition of a channel."

The bottom line for PTC is that while streaming services are trying to capture the family market, they have market, they have so far only scratched the surface of what PTC said families need most "meaningful cost-savings, and robust parental controls."

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.