PTC Seeks In-Flight-Video Guidelines

The Parents Television Council Friday asked the airline industry to adopt a family-friendly code for in-flight entertainment.

The PTC wants the airlines to cut the R and PG-13 fare, with PTC president Tim Winter complaining about flights he had taken over the past several months featuring "programming with sexual situations and coarse language," which he identified as NBC's Las Vegas and ABC’s Desperate Housewives. Other members, he said, have complained about HBO's Rome.

A bill, the Family Friendly Flights Act of 2007 (opens in new tab), was introduced this week, quarterbacked by former Washington Redskin and current Rep. Heath Shuler (D-Tenn.).

Concerned particularly about violent content, Shuler's bill would set aside "child-safe" viewing areas in planes and require unaccompanied minors to sit there, while also making them available to any parents with children 13 and under.

That bill, which was introduced Sept. 26, triggered the PTC's latest push, but Winter said he first contacted the airlines last March.

The PTC wants the airlines to take voluntary action to cut back on the violent and sexual in-flight fare so that legislation isn't necessary, he said. But if the airlines don't tone it down, the PTC could adopt a strategy it uses with TV advertisers -- buying a share of stock, then registering its complaints at shareholders’ meetings.

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.