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FTC says entertainment industry making progress

Gary Gentile The Associated Press
Tuesday July 02, 2002

LOS ANGELES – While progress has been made by the music, movie and video game industries in curtailing the marketing of violent content to teens, the Federal Trade Commission found more could be done. 

In the third follow-up to a 2000 report on violence in entertainment, the agency said Friday industry leaders could further refrain from advertising for violent movies and explicit-content music recordings in magazines and on television programs popular with teens. 

The commission found that film studios are doing a good job of complying with voluntary guidelines restricting the advertising of R-rated films before family movies in theaters. Hollywood is also better explaining to audiences why movies have been given restricted ratings. 

The industry has also, for the most part, complied with guidelines restricting the advertising of R-rated films in media where children under 17 make up more than 35 percent of the audience, the report found. 

But restricted movies are still being advertised on television shows and in magazines that appeal to a predominantly teen-age audience. 

For instance, the report found the R-rated “Resident Evil” was advertised during episodes of “Moesha,” “The Simpsons,” and “The Real World.” 

Similarly, ads for the R-rated “Training Day” aired during episodes of “Jamie Foxx” and “Family Guy.” 

The music industry got mixed reviews from the FTC. 

More ads for records containing explicit lyrics contained a parental advisory label, the commission found. 

But the industry continues to place ads for such records in media popular with teens, saying that unlike movie ratings, parental advisory warnings are not and should not be age-based. 

The video game industry similarly received praise for clearly marking games unsuitable for children with detailed warning labels. 

But the report faulted the industry for not going far enough to restrict ads in media popular with teens. 

Congress ordered the report in 2000 after becoming concerned about violent entertainment being marketed directly to young children and teens. But Congress has stopped short of calling for federal action that might curtail the entertainment industry’s First Amendment rights. 

In response to the FTC’s first report and congressional hearings, the entertainment industry adopted voluntary guidelines to disclose more information to parents and restrict marketing and advertising campaigns.