The Parents Television Council responded to Netflix’s lower-than-expected earnings report, suggesting three things that the streaming company should do to increase its subscriber base, and in particular, families.
“Netflix has 130,000 fewer domestic subscribers than it did just three months ago. We believe that a major factor in that sharp drop-off is that families cannot trust Netflix programming. While there is good, family-quality content available on its platform, bringing that content into the home also brings with it a tsunami of graphic, explicit and toxic content – some of which is directly targeted at teens and pre-teens. While we appreciate that the company heeded the warnings that we and others heralded about the harmful impact that the graphic suicide scene in 13 Reasons Why could have on children, more must be done if Netflix wants to repair the broken trust of many families,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
“We have identified the following three key improvements that Netflix could implement immediately:
- Cease distribution of content that sexualizes children – specifically, Big Mouth, a cartoon which grotesquely sexualizes children going through puberty; Sex Education, which features high school aged characters engaged in explicit depictions of sex and nudity; and the film, Desire, which included a scene of a nine-year-old girl bringing herself to orgasm.
- Stop using youth-targeted, youth-casted programming to romanticize or glorify violence, drug abuse, risky sexual behavior, and profanity. Keep in mind that there is still harmful, disturbing and sexually-violent content found in the teen-targeted show, 13 Reasons Why, for example. Among the volumes of dark, explicit content on season 2 is a teenage boy graphically being sodomized with a mop; this boy then seeks revenge by planning a school shooting.
- Embrace, implement and market content filtering functionalities for all Netflix-delivered programming, so that parents can have ultimate control over the content streaming into their homes by skipping past unwanted, explicit material. We believe families would be willing to pay a premium for such a technological feature; and it could be included alongside a ‘family plan’ that allows subscribers to pay a slightly lower monthly subscription fee that would exclude Mature-rated and pornographic content, similar to what Sirius/XM Satellite Radio has offered its subscribers.
“We believe that Netflix could add millions of subscriptions if they implemented these changes and embraced what countless families want and need,” Winter concluded.