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tv   The Communicators  CSPAN  May 1, 2016 12:00pm-12:29pm EDT

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i don't know how to fix it. but america needs a leader does. candidates, the ball is in your court. to watch all of the prize-winning documentaries in this used to do in camp competition, visit student cam.org. c-span, created by america's cable television companies are brought to as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. tim weathers is our guest this week on the commuters. he is president of the parents television council. nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting children and families from the graphic,
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sex, violence, and program data is so pervasive today. >> you have a new report are called protecting children or were -- or protecting hollywood? what is the nugget in this report? the tvre looking at content rating system. when you turn on the tv and are watching a show, you see in the pg, and tv 13 and so forth. that was created by an order almost 20 years ago, it went along with a beacv chip. and what we did was we look to see the efficacy of the content ratings for some of self. is it accurately warning parents about inappropriate material? our findings were that it is not. it is systemically we think broken, in need of repair. we found that there is a blurring between tv 14 and tv pg. there is actually no show on broadcast television, no series
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on broadcast television today that is rated appropriately for anything older than children. tv 14 is the oldest rating. explicit content on primetime broadcast tv is rated as appropriate for children to watch. we learn that the tv networks the shows.rate just\ there is a competent interest. in terms of writing content accurately. , therefore the tv number -- networks don't write anything of an appropriate -- inappropriate. >> you are saying that the ratings that the networks give their shares are inaccurate? -- their shows are inaccurate? >> not always, but a lot of the times. they are inconsistent. there is no transparency for parents to understand that there's ratings mean. if they are concerned about the accuracy of a rating system, who do they complain to?
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an oversighte is managing board here in washington comprised of the very same tv network executives rate the programs run to begin with. that doesn't look like oversight to me. >> let's bring david shepperton into this conversation. he is a reporter. you mention that there has not been a g rated program in prime time since 2008. is that a reflection of where tv is today? or does it should just let the networks just are not interested in having that type of programming? think the latter. it has been almost a decade now since we had the last regular scheduled series rated g. it shows that there still is a market for family-friendly -- as long as it is well producing good production by, there is a huge market for.
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i think that the networks , i don't know anyone who attends a trust to her children or tries to just push the envelope. when they see something out there that is successful, they try to make it a little more edgy, a little bit more provocative. they have gotten away from broadcasting to a broad market. has prettyly tbg much become a dinosaur except for this one sure recently. >> is that a reflection of the fact that with cable, consumers of summary options are ready for exquisite shows, that the networks feel pressure to maybe compete more directly with the cable shows? >> it is ironic that the broadcast ever feel a need to compete with the cable networks that the broadcast networks own. you have five or six
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companies that own most of the most-watched cable networks. the reality that you're seeing on the public airwaves, it is supposed be a broad audience, broadcasting. so certainly they feel a pressure to compete, to try to find a way to get an audience. theink they believe that best way to get a bigger audience or broadcast is to be more like cable. our belief is that the more you like cable the more you're going to get a cable network rating, not a broadcast emigrating. restrictions on the networks when it comes to prime time or at any time of their programming? >> in terms of the content? there is still efficacy is broadcast indecency law that has been on the books now for decades. that was the original case. the tv networks attempted to throw out as unconstitutional a few years ago.
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the supreme court chose not to throw out that statue. it is still good law. it was enforced as recently as the year ago when a tv station and roanoke virginia aired a theycore pornography clip said by accident, but it did err on the public airwaves on time -- in a time when children are in the viewing audience. again, what exactly are there sections, does it begin out certain hour? describesontent that sexual actions. violence is not part of the broadcast indecency law. there are some that would argue that the harm that comes to children from watching by the media is even greater than the sexually exposing content. the research we have seen is that both has an impact on judge children.igh
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after 10 p.m., the broadcasters are free to air whatever they choose as long as it is not legally obscene. the argument from broadcasters is that parents chip and havee v control over what the children watch. broadcast indecency enforcement is still important. if you are violating the law then you are violating the law. air stufft to use -- that would be indecent, wait until 10:00 and you can do so without any consequence. chip asument about the v a solution is flawed because the accuratequires an content rating system in order to work. i know that they're probably not too many children in the , when he saw a
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show that was rated as appropriate for children had a sexual intercourse s cene, the woman said to the man -- they intercourse shrugged. they said it is all subjective. the reason you have oversight is to try to make things as objective as you possibly can. going toting system is be subjective based on each network, if each network is going to estimate a different rating based on the same type of chip do its can a v job? it can. >> so many parents have more control now because they're using it an ipad or dvr to have much more control over what their kids watch, because they
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are picking up the shows, or recording them as opposed to just watching them on television. what used to be on a certain time of the day was on and then it was done. now you can record it, and playback anytime at the touch of your thumb on the remote control. that is certainly a challenge. if it relates to the content on my friends in hollywood at the tv networks know even greater than i do the consequence of their business from . it is probably the hardest point time for a parent to be a parent when it comes to the tv choices for the children out. than is so much out there just what's on television. that is why so important for the hardware and software manufacturers provide getting tools on the systems so that there can be at least some
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security for the children. it is impossible to get all of it. besides a v decide chip could work to help parents? >> they have recommended a number of remedies. i don'thich -- personally advocated, because i don't know enough about it, but is a system where every piece of media content whether it is motion picture, videogame, music, is subject to one single rating system that can understand and adopt. have onethat you consistent system across all media i think would be very helpful. this oversight is also very concerning to me. what does an oversight board look like? it should not just be the industry executives.
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>> where does the fcc fall into this oversight? >> the fcc has the authority to accept or reject in total the report and order that was created 20 years ago. is no public accountability for this oversight monitoring board. i think the fcc could adopt some changes that shed some light. i would allow not just the industry executives to determine what is appropriate or not, but bring more voices from the outside. child psychology experts, experts in the scientific yet he can see what what it's proper and what's not, and provide input. absent thestem -- oversight, it is required to look to see if the system is truly working. it has to be independent, right now it is not. this cable issue, the argument that there are 70 channels on the box now for kids options, many good
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clearly family rated program ming. necessary than other broadcast networks to have those types of shows? how are the network scanner returned to little house on the prairie air murder she wrote, are shows that are more geared to the family. when everyone has their entry to watch. >> having some immediate choices t is a wonderful thing. it gives us a larger number of possibilities to choose from. but, that does not mean that everything necessarily family-friendly. we saw a on nickelodeon where there was a cartoon that included sugar bowls. this is prime time marketed to children on nickelodeon.
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it is not always clean just because it's on the colonial. the tv content writing for the stuff is supposed to apply to everything that television network, whether it's cable or broadcast. it is one standard, it should be one standard. the other thing that we advocate for his cable unbundling. let consumers pick and choose which never say want to pay for rather than being forced to pay 200, 500. there's been some argument, when debbie cheaper or more expensive. we think it would be cheaper. anytime consumers have more choice, prices tend to go down. that would also provide a means by which parents can self-directed they don't want coming into their home. >> why do you think that all the g rated programs are off the air ? a big portion of my career working for the tv
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networks and in hollywood, there is a tremendous -- there is a sense of lending mentality. it were money, i think you would see more family friendly. i think it is more of an ego driven thing on the production level. every producer in hollywood wants to be the cool person at the party. they want to be: there appear group. and you are: you appear group little bigucing shots, you are cool by producing game of thrones or something that is explicit, violent, pushing the envelope. the antihero crime hysteria we see so much now. nobody ever gets fired in hollywood for taking what successful and trying to copy. you get fired in hollywood for trying to be bold and innovative and going in a different direction and it doesn't work. there is pressure on producers
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to keep producing edgier stuff. >> what was your role at nbc and mgm? >> i was on the business side. at i would do financial books, and what i learned at nbc was it how manytter really people watch, or how many emmy awards you want, what mattered is advertising dollars. what we have learned in years current months, is if you can talk to the sponsors about what their media dollars on ride, and if they say there are family-friendly advertiser, they don't want to be sponsoring the explicit set. so if we can convince the advertisers to gear their dollars away from marx was the that they don't want to associate the bournemouth, it trickles down to some of the shows being canceled. >> are we seeing good ratings for the show's? i know you mentioned the one g rated show but what about the other cable shares. do you think parents are
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demanding this type of programming? >> i think it was game of thorns a couple of years ago -- no maybe is breaking bad, there was an episode of breaking bad that was a water cooler talk program around the country. the finale breaking bad didn't quite top another show those on the air which was a repeat of i love lucy from 50 years ago. the reality of the matter is that this stuff still has a marketplace it is good quality. so many people in hollywood notk of family-friendly as high production by. if you producer well and it is well written, well acted, [, people will turn out to watch something positive. think about the most highly events on broadcast television the next couple of years with his broadway shows. the sound of music a couple years ago, another one just recently. it shows that there is a huge audience for this and there are
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very few options especially on broadcast. is there a disconnect? hollywood has made many many yet why iskids, but that sort of focus on family ?ntertainment >> there is a similar mentality on the production and distribution side. the g rated movies, the disney pixar movies, blockbuster after blockbuster after blockbuster. when you look at the highest rated box office motion pictures , almost every year it would be a superhero movie of two with a lot of action and sometimes violent here but your after year, it is the movies that are well produce of the whole family can enjoy together that make the most money.
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pg movies make a lot more than r-rated movies. but there are still more r-rated movies produced, why is that? i think the folks in town, that is what they like to produce . you're studying vanishes focus on the broadcast on this, crack? correct? >> that is right. >> do you think that those need to be updated? i know actual ratings, you talked about having one standard for them, but are there enough ratings? to the need more? do need fewer? think that the ratings, if they were more clearly defined, there are more transparent, if they were more easily understood, i think the categories they have a fine. withnalogy we are using our recent report, most of us have gone into a supermarket to buy something, we grab the box, we look at the back, to see what the ingredients are.
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because were going to ingest the things. we rely on the accuracy of that date on the back of that box. and so too should we be relying on the accuracy of a content rating system. age ratings can be very subjective. we have seen academic research ist shows just the content what parents want. using an arbitrary 14, 13 pg may have some convocations to pay i it.t think it is fata i don't think it is fatal. let's see how 20 years of this system -- how effective as a bin? been?sehas it >> who wrote the report? meister, phd.
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we have digital recording devices that record all of the broadcast networks every night. analysts come in the next morning and will watch what air last night. think, oh you are watching television for a job what fun. it is not. gginge sitting there loging sex, violence, drugs. act part ofducation our research is why we are really in business. should these writings be more prescriptive and showing exactly what should not be shown for a certain rating. >> it is a niche is in question. it suggests what can or can't be shown is in the united states of .f america a topic i
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which i do have certain content for a time and a place where you can on certain venues. you don't want to talk about what can or cannot be done. there has to be greater attention. the broadcasters are using -- they'reays valued using those airways for free. they are supposed to serve the public interest. what other stipulations is don't be indecent before 10:00 at night? ight. at least right to content accurately. not reallyorks have
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gotten indecent past 10 p.m. have a? they? onhoward stern was television with his radio show for a while. we see episodes of saturday night live that increasingly push the content envelope. they certainly aren't obscene, they know not to be at seeing. but, the reality of their tremendous freedom to do practically what they want after 10:00. some advertisers are uncomfortable sponsoring certain types of material. we have seen cable network shares of sun never rated ma on cable networks make it too late a broadcast television. sometimes they are edited out mostly because of the advertiser pressure. how much you think advertisers ?are
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>> we have bearing degrees of relationships with about three hundred corporate advertising. i would say 75-100, we are very solid relationships with. with us,t we do agree but they are always eager to your point of view. most of these ceos are family people and they don't want to support this type of stuff. at a corporate sponsor level, when you hire an agency, that agency looks at the demographic. grossey find a grace -- rating for demographic and thereby the show without really looking to see what the content is of that show. on some level they are concerned of the content. but they really advocate the responsibility and push it off to the ad agency. what is interesting the ad agency only makes money if the
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transaction happens. that's how they get paid. the agency isn't so concerned about aligning a corporate brand with content on television. the corporation is. usually the corporation doesn't even know what they are buying. almost 100% of the time the ceos have no idea. they look into it, and they will reconsider that media by decision. there are some that don't care. famously, hardee's and carl's are a bitrant explicit in their advertising. most corporations are responsible. they want to be careful. they don't want to align their brand with explicit material.
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viewers of explicit television shows don't remember the sponsor's name. there is scientific research that shows that. something happens to the brain when you are excited about what you're seeing, you don't remember what is advertised. is this forly good the sponsors to sponsor family from the programming. >> many shows feature gay characters today. modern family has a gay family. is that something you rate as well? >> no. >> just sex and violence? >> we don't distinguish sexual behavior by gender. the research we've seen is that it is the sexual behavior that has an impact on children. the gender is not of concern to us. >> let's go to the accountability that you're the talked about. but this is a closed system that the people who created the rating and judging the rating. how would you like to see that
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change? >> right now you have a 24 individual body. a chairman who rotates in between the cable lobby, the broadcast lobby, and the motion picture lobby. there are 18 industry executives. and there are supposed to be five public interest in vigils. to one meeting, but the conversations that had, filledthose five aren't . and it is usually an industry executive who gets a point which public insurance advocates on the board. it should be more scientists involved. you should be more clinical psychologists involved. consequence be some if there is a continuous rating.
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if the industry executive who miss rates things sits on the board and says there is no problem here, please move along, there can be ability. -- i is no consequence for don't know if it is actually intentional, but it is misleading, it is fraudulent. more enforcement on the writings be inhibiting freedom for those in hollywood? what the shows on tv overall become not as edgy or whatever you want to say as they are today? you can produce whatever you want to produce, but let's read accurately. is beyond the television. we've seen evidence of this in motion pictures as well. there was a study about two
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years ago that showed there is actually more gun violence on pg-13 movies than r-rated movies. there is a couple reasons for that. networks and the studios make more money on pg-13's and they do on our. so they will find anyway to get the gun violence in there. there is aond is, desensitization of the ratings -- those who write the content themselves. pg-13 should really be called r 13, because it is really more pg.that it is 13 many f words can use in pg-13? the answer should be

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