PTC Presses Powell for Ratings Board Changes

The Parents Television Council is calling on the board that oversees TV content ratings to implement the changes the FCC proposed in its recent report to Congress.

In a letter to the current board chairman, NCTA-the Internet & Television Association president Michael Powell, PTC president Tim Winter said the board's leadership, which rotates among the heads of NCTA, the National Association of Broadcasters and the Motion Picture Association of America, had chosen to "ignore, avoid, discount, criticize or refute" PTC calls for reforms to make the ratings more accurate, consistent and transparent.

Given that the FCC concluded the board was insufficiently accessible and transparent and the ratings system had not changed over two decades, Winter called on Powell to implement "bold" improvements.

Those include convening a "symposium of pediatricians, children’s mental health experts, and child/family advocates" to review the definitions of each rating (TV-Y7, TV-G, TV-14, etc.) for accuracy; requiring every distributor to air a minimum number of PSAs about the ratings system; and expanding membership to include more health experts and advocacy groups, setting term limits, and meet regularly in an open forum.

PTC also wants the board to include more digital platforms--Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube--to provide consistency across various distribution media. 

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.