Report: Streaming Services Coming Up Short for Families

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By Bill Bumpas,, August 14, 2017

The Parents Television Council released a new study of the top streaming video platforms and content providers and found that, as a whole, families seeking an alternative to traditional TV content aren’t being well served.

The PTC report focuses on the most popular “Over-the-Top” (OTT) streaming devices, including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, and Roku, as well as the most popular Streaming Video on Demand (SVOD) services, like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix. (See report: “Over-the-Top or a Race to the Bottom: A Parent’s Guide to Streaming Video.”)

The media watchdog’s research found that children have easy access to adult content, in part because the parental controls within these devices and services are lax or non-existent. The study also found that the majority of original streaming content was rated for mature audiences only (TV-MA).

PTC president Tim Winter outlines four recommendations for companies to better serve their family base of customers.

“First, implement a consistent and uniform rating system that works across all devices,” he advises. “Second, provide a family-plan option, so that families aren’t forced to bring and underwrite explicit content into their homes.”

“Third, block explicit titles when the parental controls are turned on,” continues Winter. “And fourth, produce more original programming that appeals to the broader family demographic.”


Winter also says the PTC is calling for commitment from all involved parties to participate in a symposium that could identify and implement solutions to the problems and challenges confronting families, in light of the world’s constant technological changes.

“We are in a period of revolutionary change in the way people consume entertainment, and the media environment is changing at a rapid pace,” he explains. “As technology continues to evolve, it is incumbent upon the companies leading the charge to also consider how children and families will be impacted.”

The bottom line, according to the report: “Families seeking a child-safe or family-friendly alternative to traditional broadcast and cable television are not well-served in the current SVOD and OTT marketplace.”

Winter is hopeful that the PTC’s report will help to move dialogue forward to correct that.