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Company Uses Traffic Light Symbol to Rate Videos

13 Oct, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

A new company called PSVratings Inc. has launched a new ratings system using a traffic light symbol to communicate levels of profanity, sex and violence in entertainment content, starting with ratings for 2,500 VHS and DVD titles.

The PSVratings system is designed to be an objective, content-based, universal ratings system that is applicable to all media, including film, music, home video, video game and television content. A beta version of the PSVratings system is accessible at http://beta.psvratings.com, and the company plans to have a final version ready by the end of the month.

“The PSVratings concept was born out of the conviction that industry-driven ratings systems for film, television, music and video games all stop short of giving parents and caregivers sufficient information to make fully informed decisions for the specific needs of their own families,' said David G. Kinney, president and CEO of PSVratings. “We also strongly believe that filmmakers, producers and artists have the right to express themselves through their creative works without judgment. PSVratings was therefore developed to give the public what they want, respect creative expression and supplement the current practice of rating media subjectively.'

The system is based on criteria developed by experts on media's effects on children, said Joanne Cantor, professor emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of “Mommy, I'm Scared: How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We Can Do to Protect Them” and a PSVratings standards board member.

PSVratings are generated from a proprietary database of more than 10 million rule combinations of profanity, sex and violence. The PSVratings standards board, comprising child advocates, educators, child psychologists and experts on the effects of media on children, oversees the assignment of rules to the red, yellow and green levels summarized on the PSVratings chart.

The company is initially providing ratings for video and DVD releases, with plans to extend its ratings platform to cover theatrical film releases, music, games and television. Consumers should be able to subscribe to the full rating system in addition to editorial content late this month at www.currentattractions.com.

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