FTC: Keep Ads for Violent Movies Away From Kids

Report says studios aren't doing enough to protect children

The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission is calling on film studios to do more to keep ads and trailers for violent films away from media, internet sites or theaters where they are likely to be seen by younger kids.

Jon Leibowitz made the comments Thursday as the FTC released its latest report on the advertising and marketing of violent movies, music and videogames, a report required by Congress.

The report, the FTC’s seventh since 2000, said that while studios aren’t specifically targeting youths with ads for inappropriate content, they also aren’t doing enough to prevent them from seeing ads or trailers with “stronger content.”

The FTC also questioned whether directors’ cuts and other unrated DVD’s are leaving parents without  a clear understanding of what their children are in for. The FTC suggested that the Motion Pictures Association of America ad guidelines may not go far enough — and one recent change may in fact have caused new problems.

Leibowitz said while studios have agreed not to advertise films with adult content in programs with an audience level that is more than 35 percent children, there are still some programs where films are advertised with “substantial youth audience in size and composition.” 

Some consumer groups in the past have questioned advertising of violent films on the Super Bowl.

He also questioned the advertising of PG-13 films on channels like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

Howard Gantman, MPAA’s VP-corporate communications, said the movie industry takes its responsibility to parents seriously.

“For more than four decades the motion-picture industry has voluntarily adhered to the movie ratings system and the accompanying advertising approval process to help ensure that movies and advertising are viewed by, and marketed to, appropriate audiences,” he said.

“We take seriously our responsibility to parents and to that end, employ rigorous standards in reviewing content so that all advertising is suitable for the audience it is intended for — whether in the movie theater, on television, or on the Internet.”