It’s the first business week of 2015, so my thoughts naturally go to “what are your wishes for the new year?” Folks, there is a lot on the PTC’s plate for the coming year, but I’d like to give you some flavor of where we are headed and what is on our wish list, so to speak.
So here’s what I’d love to see in 2015:
1) Family Shows that Families Can Watch
Our latest report, Remembering Family, showed that 99% of shows that featured families had some form of adult content (sex, violence, profanity) present in them. Not everything has to be “Father Knows Best,” but the family sitcom has been a highly successful theme for Hollywood for generations. They shouldn’t give up on the tried-and-true just to be “edgy.”
2) The FCC Finally Acts on Hundreds of Thousands of Indecency Complaints
As I laid out a couple of weeks ago, the FCC has delayed and delayed any enforcement of federal broadcast decency law. It’s past time for the FCC to step up and do its job. Fortunately, there is every reason to think that the FCC will act soon on several violations of the law.
3) The Sexualization of Young Girls in Media Ends
No one can argue that sexualized images of young girls is a good thing, but there are far too many examples of that very thing. Wouldn’t 2015 be better if Hollywood reined it in and showed respected to our young women? You can help be part of the solution by participating in PTC’s project, 4EveryGirl at www.4everygirl.com .
4) Hollywood Chooses to do More Great Work
Earth to Echo and Big Hero 6 were both PTC Seal of Approval winners, and were very successful at the box office in 2014. Frozen became the highest grossing animated film of all time. In late 2013, The Sound of Music Live garnered a huge audience for NBC. A quick look at the 2014 box office numbers show that films that families tend to go see together (super heroes and animated fare) raked in money by the hundreds of millions this year. If it’s really “about the money,” Hollywood should take the hint.
5) Advertisers Pull Support for “Dating Naked”
This one is a no-brainer. The show should have never been aired on basic cable VH1, especially at times we know millions of children to be watching television, but the network renewed the show, despite flagging ratings. Advertisers ultimately underwrite material like this, so they are responsible for it as well. Let 2015 be the year were advertisers drop “Dating Naked” to protect their hard-earned brands.
6) The Proposed Merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable is Stopped
Sometime in 2015, the Department of Justice and the FCC will determine whether the $45 billion proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable will proceed. Simply put, if allowed to go forward as-is, the giant company will be a disaster for parents and families who simply want more and better media choices for their families. The PTC has been proud to join the Stop Mega Comcast coalition, and we will work with anyone, anytime to help make cable choice a reality.
7) It’s Time to Reexamine the V-Chip and Ratings System
The industry-controlled and self-promoting TV Ratings System and the V-Chip technology that is dependent upon it are now 17 years old. Can you name a single piece of electronic technology in your home that is 17 years old? I bet it’s difficult, yet parents are told by the entertainment industry to rely completely on the industry-given ratings and old technology? I don’t think so. The PTC will continue to fight for TV Ratings Reform, to make the system more accurate, transparent and accountable to the public.
8) “Sex Box” Stays in Its Box
WE tv has hatched plans to bring the ultra-inappropriate UK series “Sex Box” to American television. The show is aptly named and features couples having sex in soundproof box while being observed by a panel. The network hasn’t announced a premiere date, but rest assured the PTC will hold it – and the advertisers who sponsor it – accountable for the content of the program.
9) The Great Cable Unraveling Continues
The PTC has long advocated for Cable Choice. That is, that consumers and families should be free to pick, choose and pay for only the cable programming they wish. Last year saw some seismic shifts of viewing patterns with HBO moving to an over the top (internet streaming) service to be made available this year without a traditional cable subscription, the CBS network followed suit. Just this week, Dish Network announced plans to have a streaming version of ESPN available, without a cable subscription. Bundled-only cable is dying, and the faster the better.
10) Hollywood Makes Good on Its Anti-Violence Pledges
In the aftermath of the Newtown shooting, key lobbyists for the entertainment industry met with Vice President Biden and gave assurances to policymakers and parents that they would work to “seek meaningful solutions” to the problem of overwhelming violence in entertainment media. Instead of any new solutions, Hollywood has fought hard against even further study of the issue. It’s just sad and shows the deep hypocrisy of the industry. It can do better, and it must.
Above all, my wish for 2015 is that you and your family remain safe, healthy and happy. We at the PTC are proud to represent better than 1.3 million members and we strive every day to forge a better, more healthy media environment for our children and grandchildren.
Happy New Year!