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The VSDA Goes to Washington

30 Oct, 2003 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Citing the home video industry's ongoing self-regulation efforts to restrict minors from access to adult-themed content, the VSDA reiterated its commitment to the cause at a public forum held by the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C.

The event, which included representatives from the motion picture, music and video game industries, was held following the disclosure last month in an FTC undercover survey that 81 percent of teenage shoppers were able to buy ‘R'-rated movies on DVD.

The survey reported that 83 percent of underaged youths were able to buy music with explicit lyrics; 69 percent bought ‘M'-rated video games, and 36 percent purchased tickets to ‘R'-rated theatrical releases.

It should be noted that with the exception of first-time DVD results, percentages in the FTC survey represented up to a 12 percent decrease in the marketing of violent entertainment to children from a similar study in 2001.

Addressing the forum, VSDA VP of public affairs Sean Bersell said that practically every video rental company incorporated content ratings and education material, including the VSDA's Pledge to Parents and Ratings Awareness Month programs.

Labeling video rental stores as family-friendly neighborhood institutions, Bersell said independent and national retailers often know their customers by name and know what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. They would not put their businesses at risk by deliberately providing to children videos and video games that their parents don't want them to have, Bersell said.

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