Ad Council, Nets Team Up on V-Chip PSAs

NEW YORK The Ad Council has forged a new partnership with the four major broadcast TV networks to develop PSAs they hope will educate parents about the V-chip. ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC will work together with the Ad Council to tailor common themes and messages for the announcements.

The V-chip, an electronic circuit located in televisions, allows parents to use their TV remote controls to block programming that may contain content they feel is inappropriate for their children. According to the Ad Council, its recent nationwide survey of parents with children ages 2-17 found that while most are concerned about age-appropriate television content, less than 10 percent of all parents are using the V-Chip. Some 80 percent of parents are unaware that the function is available to them.

“ABC believes strongly that we have a responsibility to enable our viewers to make informed choices about the programs they watch and those their children watch. The V-chip can play a critical role in these choices,” said Alex Wallau, president of ABC TV, in a statement.

Ad Council research will help inform each of the networks to develop spots for their own networks and stations. The PSAs will also drive viewers to a link on each network’s Web site that will house V-chip and program rating-specific information.

The V-chip is programmable based on the standard TV Parental Guidelines. As of Jan. 1, 2000, the Federal Communications Commission required all new television sets 13 inches and larger to contain the V-chip.

“Our research has revealed that, although most parents are concerned about their children’s television programs, a startling majority are not even aware that this technology exists and that it’s available in most television sets,” said Peggy Conlon, Ad Council president and CEO, in a statement.