All the major broadcast networks are now working to apply content ratings that appear in the upper left corner of broadcast television to all epsodes that are now streamed on their respective websites. NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC, and Spanish language channels TeleFutura, Telemundo, and Univision will all have content ratings on streaming videos by December 1st.
Parent groups are fond of the decision. One group, Television Watch, says that 68% of parents use the rating system and those that do, find them helpful in monitoring their child’s content.
“For years, the content ratings have proven to be one of the most popular tools parents use to help make decisions about what their children watch on television,” said Jim Dyke, executive director of TV Watch in the Hollywood Reporter. “By taking this step today, these networks are giving parents an expanded set of tools to help determine what their children watch based on their own taste, style and age.”
Certain streaming services have already adopted the rating system method, Hulu being among them. While parents sometimes find the information helpful, critics point to the fact that the content providers themselves are the ones that rate the shows, not an independent third party. This could allow them to overlook objectionable material, or things could go through without consistent judging criteria in place.
This may help parents feel safer to a certain degree, but this is the internet we are talking about here. There are much worse things out there than what the major networks are putting out. The whole internet is rated TV-MA, slapping an illegible black and white sticker in the corner of a tiny video panel is unlikely to do all that much.[source: Hollywood Reporter]