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Networks to begin stream-content ratings for Web

June 11, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • The broadcast networks will start putting ratings on their shows when they appear online as well.
The broadcast networks will start putting ratings on their shows when they… (Handout )

The major broadcast networks will start streaming-content ratings for their shows on their websites.

They already rate their shows on television so this is just an extension of that system. The ratings range from TV-G, which means the content is safe for all audiences, to TV-MA, for mature audiences only.

However, there will likely be no age-verification requirement for online viewers. Also, the TV ratings are meant to be used in conjunction with the so-called V-chip, a feature on most televisions that allow parents to block their kids from watching certain shows.

Computers don't come with a V-chip so much of this is just window dressing. Parents can block adult content, but most Web shows run without any ratings. For example, the popular and bloody Web series "Bite Me" from Machinima has no rating on it.

Although the Federal Communications Commission has no oversight over Internet content, the regulatory agency's chairman nonetheless praised the announcement, saying "I applaud the networks’ commitment to empower parents. With our rapidly changing media marketplace, it is vital parents have tools to help them make informed choices.”

While CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, and Univision are on board with the initiative, the CW network, which is very aggressive in streaming its content, has not yet decided if it will participate.

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