Do my letters and phone calls to corporations make a difference?

Yes! The PTC has seen corporations stop advertising on offensive programming, and has effected changes in some of the worst programming, primarily because of the phone calls, e-mails, and letters from our members. Keep up the good work! Corporations do listen to you, and the networks listen to the corporations they depend on for advertising dollars. The networks produce programming primarily with a view to what will bring in the most ad dollars. So, please contact those corporations we list as sponsors of offensive programming and let them know of your dissatisfaction with their advertising practices.

How does the PTC conduct its research?

The PTC has more than 95,000 hours of entertainment programming in its custom-designed Entertainment Tracking System (ETS). The ETS is the only database of its kind in the world, and the PTC uses it to produce unique research and publications focusing on a variety topics relating to the content of prime time television -- including in-depth analyses of the "family hour" and the television ratings system. This same database provides the background information necessary to produce our Family Guide to Prime Time Television.

Time and again we hear from people asking, "How do you do it? How can you monitor every prime time network television show between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.?" With an arsenal of VCRs, televisions, a full-time team of entertainment analysts, and a massive online database we are able to build a database full of this unique research.

Each evening, the PTC records every prime-time program on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, ITV, UPN, and the WB, as well as original programming on expanded basic cable. The following day, the PTC's team of entertainment analysts watch and transcribe every offensive word, sexual innuendo, and describe sexual activity and violence in detail. The information from the analysts is then fed into ETS. The staff uses the information to compile e-mail reports, monthly newsletters, and in-depth studies. The researchers also use intelligence from ETS to produce frequent press releases and alerts exposing TV's gratuitous sex and graphic violence, and to educate sponsors about program content.

Our research and information are truly one-of-a-kind. Many in the entertainment industry, including advertising executives, use this info which is found online at the PTC's website - www.parentstv.org.

The PTC also regularly provides tapes of broadcasts to the Federal Communications Commission since most broadcasters don't archive their broadcasts. A tape of the broadcast is needed by the FCC in order to determine if the broadcast broke indecency or obscenity laws. 

You gave my favorite show a red traffic light and/or put it on your yearly best/worst list, does that mean you don't like it?

No, not at all. We do not make judgments about a show's artistic quality when we rate them. A red light rating means that the show may include gratuitous sex, explicit dialogue, violent content, and/or obscene language, and is, in our opinion, unsuitable for family viewing.

Is the PTC involved with the Family Friendly Programming Forum?

The Family Friendly Programming Forum is not a PTC venture. It is an organization of corporations who belong to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). Its members are corporations who, according to their mission statement, are concerned about promoting family-friendly programming. (You can read their roster and mission statement at the ANA website) As such, we've applauded them publicly, and work with them when possible.

There is a natural tension between these corporations' stated desire for more family-friendly shows and their interest in getting their message out to the public via advertising on television, the most popular form of entertainment, regardless of its program content. This means that Forum members will sometimes advertise on offensive or non-family-friendly shows, even during prime time. The PTC tries to minimize this by monitoring shows that don't square with the FFPF mission, and presenting information to forum members who advertise on those shows.