FTC slams music biz for teen marketing


While the Federal Trade Commission gave the music industry a slap on the wrist Tuesday for continuing to promote violent wares to kids, the rest of the entertainment industry earned something like praise from the watchdog agency.

"The Commission's review indicates that the entertainment media industry has made some progress both in limiting advertising in certain popular teen media and in providing rating information in advertising," the FTC said in a follow-up report to last September's findings that the entertainment industry markets violent content to kids. "The industry must make a greater effort, however, if it is to meet the suggestions for improvement included in the Commission's report as well as its own promises for reform."

The FTC was particularly unhappy with the music industry, finding that it "has not visibly responded to the Commission's Report; nor has it implemented the reforms its trade association announced."

In response, Recording Industry Association of America President Hilary Rosen said the industry agrees "that we need to do a better job of following our own guidelines...Unfortunately, the FTC report followed too quickly on the heels of our implementation of these new efforts."

Motion Picture Association of America President Jack Valenti said he was "pleased" with the FTC's findings. "The [MPAA's] member companies are doing what they had pledged they would do, and we will continue to make progress." With regard to the movie studios, the FTC said it found "virtually no advertisements for R-rated movies in the popular teen magazines reviewed. A spot-check of movie trailer placement revealed general compliance with the industry's commitment not to run trailers for R movies with G- and PG-rated feature films.

The FTC's only complaint about the studios was that spots for R-rated movies still appear on TV shows aimed at teens, and the rating reasons in ads were "usually small, fleeting, or inconspicuously placed."
- Paige Albiniak