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Press Release

New PTC Research Shows Blurred & Pixilated Nudity Increasing on Broadcast TV and Being Rated as Acceptable for Children

Data Exposes Flaws in TV Rating System and in FCC Proposal to Limit Indecency Complaints

Release Date: 6/4/2013

LOS ANGELES (JUNE 4, 2013) – New research from the Parents Television Council shows that blurred or pixilated full nudity is increasingly being shown on primetime broadcast television shows, and that almost 70% of this type of nudity is being shown on TV-PG rated programs.

The PTC found that there were almost as many shows containing blurred or pixilated full nudity in only the first 4 months of 2013 (N=16) as aired during the entire 2011-2012 television season (N=22). (Additional data is found below.)

"Most parents instinctively know that they need to monitor what their kids watch on television, but our new research shows that it would be almost impossible for them to protect their kids from blurred or pixilated nudity on TV since most broadcast TV networks are rating these shows as acceptable for young children," said PTC President Tim Winter.

"This data exposes the huge flaw in the TV ratings system: that the TV networks rate their own content and are financially motivated not to give a TV show a higher rating, otherwise advertisers would likely flee.

"Our findings are also alarming because if this kind of nudity continues to increase – as we believe it will – and the FCC’s proposal to essentially stop enforcing the broadcast indecency law goes into effect, then it’s certain that the networks will continue to push the limits of decency even further. We have documented in the past that there is a phenomenon called 'ratings creep,' what’s not acceptable to show on TV in previous years eventually becomes acceptable. We cannot let that happen. Our children deserve to be protected. The FCC needs to enforce the indecency law – period. And if it doesn’t, then Congress needs to ensure that this happens and that children are protected," Winter emphasized.

One of the PTC’s Chapter Directors, Claudia Wadzinski, said that it has always been difficult to protect her three children from inappropriate content on TV, and that these new findings will make her job even harder. “It is shocking to me as a parent that TV networks apparently find it appropriate to show full nudity blurred or pixilated during hours when my children may be watching. Even if my kids are watching TV with me, I don’t want them to be exposed to this kind of inappropriate content. But how am I supposed to protect my kids when the TV ratings are so low? Shows with this kind of nudity should be rated TV-MA, and I know a lot of parents who would agree,” she said..

The findings of the new PTC research are as follows:

(NOTE: This study focuses on instances of blurred or pixilated nudity on all primetime broadcast TV shows. The study excludes animated shows, partial nudity, obscured nudity, as well as the use of a black box to hide sexual body parts. The study period ran from January 1, 2013, through April 26, 2013.)


• There were almost as many shows containing full nudity in only the first 4 months of 2013 (N=16) as aired in the entire 2011-2012 television season (N=22). Based on these numbers, we project that the broadcast networks are on course to increase the amount of full nudity on primetime programming by 61%.

• Almost 70% of the full nudity depicted on primetime television during the first 4 months of 2013 was delivered by TV-PG programming (69%).

• 88% of the shows that depicted full nudity on primetime programming during the first 4 months of 2013 were shows that aired at 9:00 pm or earlier.

• 94% of the shows did not contain an "S" descriptor warning parents to the presence of heightened sexual content.

• All TV-14 rated shows containing full nudity aired 9:00 or earlier.

• Every instance of full nudity that aired 9:00 pm or after aired on a TV-PG rated show.

• Collectively, NBC and ABC accounted for 88% of the full nudity that aired on primetime broadcast television. Shows included: Modern Family (ABC), Happy Endings (ABC), Suburgatory (ABC), Parks and Rec. (NBC), Betty White Off Your Rocker (NBC), Whitney (NBC), Go On (NBC), Cops (Fox), and Survivor (CBS).

Content descriptions can be found at: http://w2.parentstv.org/Main/Research/PRDataSample.aspx.

To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver at (703) 307-9404 or email at kelly@kellyoliverpr.com

The Parents Television Council® (www.parentstv.org) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members and 56 chapters across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC™ also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.

The Parents Television Council® (www.parentstv.org) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media.

This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members and 56 chapters across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children.

The PTC™ also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can"make informed viewing choices for their own families.

Visit the new PTC Watchdog Blog at www.parentstv.org/blog.

Follow the PTC on Twitter: @ThePTC.
 
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ptcusa.

To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver at (703) 307-9404 or email at kelly@kellyoliverpr.com.