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Congressional report gives video game industry high marks

By Michael Connolly

Wasn't it just a couple of years ago that the video game industry seemed to make headlines every week and for all the wrong reasons? Everyone from members of congress to leaders of parent watchdog groups were assailing video game developers and publishers for their relentless attempts to corrupt our youth and their refusal to accept any form of self-regulation.

Fast-forward to last week, when a Federal Trade Commission report praised the video game industry for doing a better job than the movie or music industries when it came to keeping violent and other inappropriate content away from young kids!

The report, which reviews the marketing of violent entertainment to children, stated that the video game industry had made significant progress and had outpaced the movie and music industries in three specific areas: 1) restricting target-marketing of mature-rated products to children; 2) prominently disclosing rating information; and 3) restricting children's access to mature-related products at retail.

However, there was still room for improvement, particularly when it comes to new technologies such as mobile games and viral online marketing.

Specific criticism was aimed at the movie and music industries. The FTC said that movie studios were still intentionally marketing PG-13 movies to kids under 13, and that movie rating system broke down when it came to marketing and selling DVDs. Unrated DVDs of PG-13-rated films often contained adult or explicit content that wasn't in the original cut.

Meanwhile, the FTC found that the music industry "had not significantly changed its marketing practices" since the Commission's initial report back in 2000.

The report did find that fewer kids are able to skirt age restrictions than just a few years ago. To see if retailers and movie theaters are enforcing age limits, the commission sent 13 to 16-year-old "mystery shoppers" to see movies and buy DVDs, video games or music not intended for their age group.

On average, 20 percent of them were able to buy M-rated video games when unaccompanied by a parent. This is down from 42 percent in 2006, the latest available figure.

In contrast, 72 percent of the kids were able to buy music CDs with explicit content warnings, compared with 76 percent in 2006, and more than half of them were sold R-rated movie DVDs, down from 71 percent three years ago.

Movie theaters are also checking IDs more: only 28 percent of the teens could buy tickets for R-rated movies, down from 39 percent in 2006.



Comments:
Comment by davidbaer, posted 1/1/2010, 11:48 PM:

Experts have talked about this before. How many times have you read about the importance of ‘adding value’ for your audience? How many times have you read about ‘building trust’ with your readers/prospects? Many, many times. You know it well. Every marketing guru has spoken about this topic. I’m sick of hearing it. But it STILL bears repeating. www.onlineuniversalwork.com
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