PTC Urges Netflix to Toughen Parental Controls

Spurred in part by the news that T-Mobile will be giving Netflix to its subscribers (and their families) for free, the Parents Television Council is urging Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to employ content protections.

The other spur was Disney's decision to pull its content in favor of its own streaming platform.

"[N]ow is an opportune time for Netflix to recommit to providing families with both abundant, suitable programming choices and adequate parental controls,” PTC President Tim Winter wrote.

Related: ‘Magic School Bus Rides Again’ Debuts on Netflix Sept. 29

PTC released a report last month that concluded that streaming service parental controls are lax, if they exist at all, concluding that makes the services problematic for children.

PTC suggests Netflix's parental controls need tweaking, including by requiring a passcode to switch from a child's to an adult's profile, and better blocking of adult profiles and titles on its mobile app.

PTC has also urged Netflix to provide more family-friendly original content—most of its originals are TV-MA. It also wants the streamer to offer a lower-priced subscription for those who don't want "more explicit" offerings. PTC has long argued that programmers should offer a la carte channels and family-friendly bundles as a way to give viewers more control over content.

“By making these changes, Netflix would become a much more family-friendly environment for the growing legions of cord-cutting parents who are turning to streaming video services for their family entertainment needs," Winter told Hastings. "Not only is this an important matter for your family subscribers, but we believe it to be in Netflix’s strategic financial interest to do more to keep families interested in your service, and to your family market."

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.