The Federal Trade Commission today released a follow-up report to its September 2000 Report, Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children: A Review of Self-Regulation and Industry Practices in the Motion Picture, Music Recording & Electronic Game Industries ("the Report"). The follow-up report is in response to a request from Chairman John McCain, Ranking Member Ernest Hollings, and Senators Max Cleland and Sam Brownback of the Senate Commerce Committee that the Commission examine whether the entertainment media industries continue to advertise violent R-rated movies, explicit-content labeled music, and M-rated electronic games in popular teen media and whether they are including rating information in their advertising.
The follow-up report indicates that the motion picture and electronic game industries have "made some progress both in limiting advertising in popular teen media and in providing rating information in advertising." However, it states that "the music recording industry, unlike the motion picture and electronic game industries, has not visibly responded to the Commission's report; nor has it implemented the reforms its trade association announced just before the Report was issued." The follow-up report states that "vigilant self-regulation is the best approach to ensuring that parents are provided with adequate information to guide their children's exposure to entertainment media with violent content" and therefore encourages the industry to expand efforts to implement the reforms announced following the Report and to go beyond those reforms to meet the Commission's recommendations.
According to FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky: "Because government intrusion in decisions about content raises important First Amendment concerns, self regulation continues to be the preferred solution to problems in this area. Although much remains to be done, the follow-up report illustrates that the motion picture and electronic game industries have improved and enhanced the self-regulation of their marketing practices. Unfortunately, the music industry response, at least so far, has been disappointing in its failure to institute positive reforms to its self-regulatory structure."
The follow-up report makes the following key findings about the marketing of violent entertainment material by the industry:
This follow-up report is a "snapshot of advertising practices by some industry members a few months after publication" of the original report and "cannot be statistically projected to industry advertising as a whole." This review, unlike the original study, relied on advertising monitoring rather than internal industry documents, and therefore, cannot be directly compared to that Report. Finally, the follow-up report did not address the issue of children's access to violent entertainment products at retail stores and theaters. The Senate Commerce Committee has requested a second, more comprehensive report to be released this fall which will include information from individual industry members.
The report was approved by the Commission by a vote of 5-0.
Copies of the report are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad.
(FTC Matter No. P994511)