• Costco Poll Shows Overwhelming Agreement on Ratings Reform

    by  • April 2, 2014 • Misrated, Ratings Reform • 9 Comments

    In last month’s Costco Connection magazine, PTC president Tim Winter penned the “Yes” position in a debate asking “Should we rethink the ratings system for television and film?”   As he skillfully put it, “it’s time for wholesale reform of the entire ratings system, and those whom the ratings are intended to serve – parents and families – must be given a seat at the table.”

    On the opposing side was Joan Graves of the Motion Picture Association of America, who rather bizarrely stated that the movie ratings system was “built to evolve over time” while simultaneously arguing against any would-be reform of the system.

    After both sides were presented, Costco hosted an online poll to allow members to weigh in on the question of whether it was time for ratings reform, and it seems very few people bought the industry line while agreeing that the time for reform is now.

    Costco Poll


    That’s right – a whopping 97% agreed that it was time to rethink how we rate media.  Now, to be sure, this is not a scientific poll, but the near-unanimity of opinion here is indicative of something powerful: parents and families know this issue because they live it every day.

    They know they’re not getting reliable, accurate ratings information from the entertainment industry and that’s why this poll is as lopsided as it is.

    The PTC’s mission is to make sure parents and families have the critical information they need to make the best viewing decisions for their own families.  Parents deserve an accurate, transparent, publicly accountable ratings system – and they don’t have that now.  Please join us as we continue to push for ratings reform.



    9 Responses to Costco Poll Shows Overwhelming Agreement on Ratings Reform

    1. Josh Bloomer
      June 17, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      I actually think that the MPAA does a good job with rating films. You won’t find any graphic hardcore violence in PG-13 movies, and although studies show that gun violence has increased rapidly over the years none of it is anything that would be deemed inappropriate for a 13 year old (with, okay, maybe a FEW exceptions). The good thing about the MPAA is that films are rated by their content from a single, unified organization that specializes on content ratings so at least there’s some consistency.

      The problem I have is with the TV “content ratings”, which are nothing more than a deceptive outlet that advertisers use to gain more viewership. Every station rates their shows however they want, and there isn’t anyone to stop them if they give an inappropriate rating. This also means no consistency whatsoever–a TV-MA rated program on one TV station can be rated TV-Y on another if that station feels like that rating would be more suitable. At least you don’t get that with the MPAA.

      Worse, the TV ratings are blatantly inaccurate! Countless TV-14 rated shows have graphic, explicit violence. It’s funny yet bewildering how you can’t say even just one f-word uncensored yet show frequent graphic violence on television. Anyway, the TV-14 rating–which is really supposed to be equal to a PG-13–is allowed to contain explicit blood and gore that surpasses even the most abysmal TV-MA rated shows. Hostel II, an R-rated movie that was somewhat controversial because many felt that its violence should have earned it an NC-17 rating–was rated TV-14 with all of the violence uncensored, in the middle of day, yet they still had to edit out minor cuss words and nudity. The same goes for other numerous R-rated movies with graphic violence that are deemed appropriate for young teens–not to mention the countless number of television series.

      Anyway, the results of this poll FINALLY instilled some hope in me that the ratings system for TV is nothing but flawed. I thought I was one of the only ones who really wanted to vent about it. By no means am I an advocate for censorship, which is what a lot of people dismiss about people who vent about the ratings system of films and television, but I’m just constantly annoyed at the inaccuracy of these sort of things. Something that was designed to help regulate content on television is just doing the opposite.

      • Forrest
        July 2, 2015 at 12:30 pm

        I agree, compared to the TV ratings the MPAA does its job well. I wouldn’t mind if the MPAA overlooks television programs as well, at least the ratings would be more consistent. Whether this happens or not, it’s important that there is a unified board that maintains consistency.

    2. Dana Andrews
      July 14, 2014 at 10:49 am

      97% yes, huh? Goes to show the devil’s crowd is not as popular as they would like to think! More power to Lord’s side!

    3. William Hughes
      April 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Commercials need to be rated as well. Advertisers have no regard as to WHO is in front of the TV when their ads are aired. Parents must CRINGE whenever a show their children are watching goes to a commercial break. You can have a commercial for a toy, then here comes an ad for ab “ED Pill” the next.

    4. Pat
      April 4, 2014 at 6:07 am

      We need more of these polls! We definitely need ratings reform! And we need some people with a clue to be a part of it. I think some of the “Hollywood types” are desensitized and out of touch with reality.

      • Mike
        April 4, 2014 at 1:40 pm

        Pat, you seem to assume everyone that voted on this means the ratings system should be more strict. While I think it should be more strict with respect to violence I think it should be less strict with respect to sexuality and language. Kids don’t have nightmares or psychological damage because they heard swear words or a pair of breasts.

        • PTC-CR
          April 4, 2014 at 5:00 pm

          Mike, the feedback we get from people every day and highlighted in this poll is that people want ACCURACY and CONSISTENCY in the ratings so they can make correct decisions for the well-being of their children…and even themselves. It is ultimately up to the parents to make the decision what their children watch, and hopefully parents look at the many studies which show the negative influences of certain media, whether violence, profanity or sexual content. As an example, a recent RAND poll showed that teens who viewed most sexual content on TV were almost twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy. THE REAL POINT is that parents are asked to rely on a rating system that is inaccurate and inconsistent, and more often wrong than not. We have proven that over and over in our studies and the current confusing ratings system hinder parents more than helps them. The networks are consistently rating programs with violence sex, and profanity at lower ratings so more kids will watch their shows. It is their interests to do so, not the parents. See http://w2.parentstv.org/blog/index.php/2014/03/27/whats-behind-the-mask-of-tv-ratings. To give parents better choices, the first step is to overhaul the ratings system so the ratings are accurate and consistent. See our E-series in TV Ratings for more info at http://w2.parentstv.org/blog/index.php/tag/e-series. Although the focus on the E-series was on excessive and rampant violent content, the same ratings problem exist on programs with sexual content and profanity. The system needs to change.

          • Jonathan
            April 5, 2014 at 10:47 am

            There is no problem with the rating system. The PTC just wants people to think that. The real problem is lazy parents who don’t watch the show before they let their kids watch it or do any research on the show.

            You guys can sign petitions and boycott sponsors all you want but networks will never bow down to group who only wants to brainwash people. I can see why certain writers, and directors hate this group.

    5. April 2, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      There is quite a bit of concern about the ratings system, and rightfully so.

      We’re proud to be pioneers in helping viewers avoid objectionable content. We provide a FREE movie player with over a dozen interactive features, one of which is our Control feature.

      We believe people should be able to watch movies (and TV) without having to see things they are disturbed by. We have 14 categories of content that can be seamlessly skipped or reduced to a more mild level of explicitness including violence, substance abuse, blasphemy, bigotry, gore, sex, and even violence to animals.

      All the features are 100% free, and our library has over 100 hit movies including recent releases like “12 Years a Slave”, “Thor: The Dark World” and “Skyfall”. Thanks as always for this informative blog. We look forward to reading more!

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