Studios resist pressure to change marketing

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The movie industry on Sept. 26 announced a dozen "initiatives'' to provide parents with more infor mation about violent films, but still set the stage for a major confrontation with senators on the is sue of the marketing of such movies to children. In its response to the Federal Trade Commission report on marketing of violent entertainment to kids, the Motion Picture Association of America declined to take most of the steps in restricting marketing that the FTC had requested. It rejected limits on placement of ads for R-rated films and any discussion of restricting the marketing of PG-13 films.

A confrontation could come tomorrow with members of the Senate Commerce Committee who are to hear executives from eight major studios and possibly later from the FTC.

The film industry said on Sept. 26 that each studio would appoint a senior compliance officer or committee to review the company's marketing practices and that additional information on why a film was rated R will be included in print ads and Web sites. The studios also agreed to some restrictions on running R-rated trailers before movies rated for general audiences.

However, the only commitment made to change broadcast advertising was a statement that "each company will review its marketing and advertising practices in order to further the goal of not inappropriately specifically targeting children in its advertising of films rated R for violence.''

Jack Valenti, president-CEO of MPAA, said some individual studios will go further but defended the marketing of some R-rated movies to those under 17, calling it "perfectly appropriate'' in some cases like "Saving Private Ryan'' and "Schindler's List.'' "We are not deceiving anyone,'' Mr. Valenti asserted.

Copyright September 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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