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PTC Seeks Streaming Parental Control Town Hall

A child streams content on his phone while wearing headphones.
(Image credit: Cavan Images via Getty Images)

The Parents Television and Media Council (PTC) has reached out to the top streaming platforms to talk about coming up with a "clear, uniform commitment to protecting children from age-inappropriate content."

PTC, which has changed the focus of its advocacy from content on broadcast (and cable) TV to streaming video, given the rise of those platforms, driven in part by the pandemic.

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.

Also Read: PTC Issues Cord-Cutters Guide to Streaming Services

PTC said it plans to hold a June 8, 2021, virtual town hall to talk about parental control and other issues. That comes in the wake of its report Dollars and Sense: A Parent’s Guide to Streaming Media, which gave a mixed review for streaming parental controls and signaled there was room for improvement.

For parents, said PTC president Tim Winter, "[i]t is no longer a matter of knowing what is on a handful of broadcast or cable networks during a given time of day. Launching any one of dozens of streaming apps gives a child instantaneous access to a virtually unlimited catalogue of programming. It is not feasible or realistic to expect a parent to be familiar with all of the available titles on any ONE streaming service, let alone the content on EACH of those titles."

He suggested that streaming execs are the new video power source, and need to be the responsibility source as well.

“Streaming TV is already proving to be a leader in the entertainment industry, and we expect these companies to exercise leadership to better protect children from harmful adult content,” he said.

The invitations to the town hall went to Amazon Prime Video senior VP Mike Hopkins; Apple TV Plus head of domestic creative development Matt Cherniss; Disney Plus President Michael Paull; HBO Max head Andy Forssell; Hulu president Kelly Campbell; Netflix co-CEO and COO Ted Sarandos; Tom Ryan, president and CEO, ViacomCBS Streaming; and Peacock chairman Mark Lazarus.

The letters just went out, so no word yet on any takers, said a PTC spokesperson.

John Eggerton
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.