TV Nets Expand Content Ratings To Web

Parents will now be able use the TV ratings system when children watch programs from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, TeleFutura, Telemundo and Univision on the Internet.

Today the ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, TeleFutura, Telemundo and Univision broadcast networks announced a plan to provide additional ratings tools to give parents even greater decision-making power over their family’s media consumption.

Parents will now be able use the TV ratings system when children watch broadcast television programs on the Internet. The networks are making the ratings information available for all full-length entertainment programs that stream on the websites that they control.

Each company will determine its own systems, and the networks have committed that the TV ratings will appear at the beginning of full-length video programs and also in the online programming descriptions. Network websites will also include or link to ratings system information. This commitment is effective for rated programming televised beginning December 1.

Commenting on the action, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said: “I applaud the networks’ commitment to empower parents. With our rapidly changing media marketplace, it is vital parents have tools to help them make informed choices.”

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), House author of the Children’s Television Act and V-Chip legislation, said in a statement: “In the wireless world, consumers no longer need to be tethered to their television to enjoy the latest programming. Mobility has dramatically expanded the range of venues for watching TV, but it has not changed the values that led to creation of the ratings system: parents still want tools to keep adult material away from their children. The extension of the use of parental guidelines to Web-based content reflects this reality, and I commend the networks for offering parents the tools to exercise viewing choices.”

TV Watch Executive Director Jim Dyke issued the following statement: “For years, the content ratings have proven to be one of the most popular tools parents use to help make decisions about what their children watch on television. The most recent data shows that 68% of parents use the TV ratings system and 95% of the parents who use them often find the ratings helpful. Parents have overwhelmingly stated that they, not the government, are better at making decisions about what their children view on television. By taking this step today, these networks are giving parents an expanded set of tools to help determine what their children watch based on their own taste, style and age.”

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