• Disney+, an 80% Solution for Families

    by  • November 12, 2019 • Other • 0 Comments

    Disney+

    Today marked Disney’s long-anticipated debut into the streaming video universe with the launch of Disney+. For a little under $7/month (after a free 1 week trial), Disney+ offers an extensive library of child-friendly and family-friendly content that ranges from classic animated movies from the Disney “vault,” like Sleeping Beauty, Bambi, Snow White, and The Jungle Book; favorite live-action Disney classics like The Parent Trap and Old Yeller; popular movies from Pixar studios, like Brave, Cars, Incredibles 2, and Toy Story 3; original series from Disney Junior and Disney Channel like Little Einsteins, or The Wizards of Waverly Place; National Geographic nature documentaries; movies from the Star Wars and Marvel franchises; as well as some properties that came with Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox, like all 30 seasons of The Simpsons.

    For safe family viewing, Disney+ may be one of the best streaming options currently available. Families who previously streamed Disney movies on Amazon Prime, Hulu or Netflix will be relieved to be able to browse a menu screen without seeing R- or MA-rated titles alongside child-friendly titles like Finding Dory. I have yet to come across any titles on Disney+ rated higher than PG-13.

    But it is also important to remember that Disney+ was not designed exclusively for children. Disney executive Kevin Mayer said during a press briefing on Disney+ that “It’s incumbent upon us to market it the right way to emphasize the fact that it’s not just for kids… It’s all family friendly, but everyone can enjoy this product.”

    If it’s not exclusively for kids, though, that means there is a good chance of finding content that is not appropriate for younger eyes or ears. So while there are ample child- and family-friendly titles available on this new streaming service, not all content is equally-well suited to all families. The mere fact that a program has been given a PG-rating is not necessarily a guarantee of its suitability for younger audiences, as PTC research has shown; and parents should be advised that the MPAA will allow one or two f-words in PG-13-rated movies, and does not blink at gore and violence in PG-rated movies. Titles from the Marvel and Star Wars franchises contain higher levels of violence; and some of the PG-13 titles may include harsher language or profanity; sexual innuendo or suggestive dialogue.

    Which is why Disney+ is only an 80% solution for families. At this time, Disney+ apparently does not offer any parental controls to allow parents to block or filter content based on age-rating, or content descriptors.

    There is much here for families to be excited about; and no doubt this service will be enthusiastically welcomed into many homes. But this service could be made even better with the addition of content filtering and parental controls.

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    About

    Ms. Henson is a noted expert on entertainment industry trends and the how the impact of entertainment affects children and the American popular culture at large. She also directs the organization’s Advertiser Accountability Campaign, which encourages companies to sponsor family-friendly entertainment. She previously supervised the research and program content analysis operations of the PT and produced a number of groundbreaking PTC studies that document the levels of graphic sex, violence and profanity on television. Some of those reports include: The Ratings Sham I & II, Dying to Entertain, Faith in a Box, The Sour Family Hour, The Blue Tube, and TV Bloodbath. She began her career with the PTC in 1997 as an entertainment analyst, documenting instances of inappropriate content on television. Ms. Henson has appeared on a variety of television shows including Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Big Story, CNN Headline News’ ShowBiz Tonight, CNBC’s On the Money, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, and CBN’s Newswatch. She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows across the country and has been quoted extensively in news sources such asEntertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg. Ms. Henson is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a BA in Government. She resides in Falls Church, Va., with her husband and their son.

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