The possibility that Hollywood could be close to unveiling major marketing changes to address the Federal Trade Commission's report on the marketing of violent entertainment to teens was hinted at Sept. 20 by both by FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky and Hollywood's top lobbyist in Washington, Jack Valenti. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Pitofsky cautioned about acting too quickly to give the entertainment industry limited antitrust immunity to allow creation of a new entertainment code, in part because any action could impede immediate progress. "My sense is the industry is willing to move,'' he said. Mr. Valenti, president-CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said eight top studio executives have agreed to testify to the Senate Commerce Committee Sept. 27, and he indicated they could have something to say. "While I cannot tell you precisely how we will act . . . I can tell you we will act,'' Mr. Valenti said. The Commerce Committee, meanwhile, was on the move Sept. 20, sending to the Senate floor legislation that could both require broadcasters to rate programs for violence and then bar broadcasters from airing programs with "excessive violence'' for much of the broadcast day. The action came despite concern from several committee members, including Chairman John McCain (R., Ariz.), about the legislation's constitutionality. The Children's Protection From Violent Programming Act, as amended by sponsor Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D., S.C.), would require the Federal Communications Commission to examine whether the V-chip is effectively blocking children's access to "the harm of violent programming'' and, if not, issue regulations barring "violent video programming'' during hours "when children are reasonably likely to comprise a substantial portion of the audience.''
Copyright September 2000, Crain Communications Inc.