The TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board is Stepping in to Make Sure Streaming Services Display Content Ratings

Just as traditional TV displays that little black box rating in the top corner during the beginning of a show, streaming services are being reminded they should properly display MPAA TV ratings on their content as well. On Friday, the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board released new guidance on how streaming services are supposed to ensure viewers know the ratings on all their content.

According to a survey conducted among parents last year, 84% of children are watching some form of content via streaming services. This led the Board to establish a special Streaming Task Force to communicate with popular streaming services including Discovery+, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Paramount+, Peacock, and Tubi to find out how the platforms are incorporating ratings information.

As a result, the board issued the Ratings Best Practices Guidance for Streaming Services to ensure expectations are known.

Some examples of the new ratings guidance for streaming services include:

  • For all streaming video assets that are rated, video streaming services should display TV ratings on-screen at the time that a consumer initiates the playback of a video asset.
  • Video streaming services should apply TV ratings for all content that has been shown on television with ratings and content that is originally produced for the streaming environment, including on an episode-by-episode basis for episodically rated programs.
  • Video streaming services should include age-based ratings within the product experience (e.g., as part of narrative program summaries contained on program description screens or within online menus and navigation guides), to the extent practicable after taking into account technical and other reasonable limitations.

“With an increasing number of children and families using streaming services, parents will benefit from the ability to access similar ratings on these platforms as they do on traditional television networks to help them continue to make informed decisions about age-appropriate programming,” said Ndidi Oriji, Board member and chair of the Streaming Task Force. “As the industry continues to evolve, we hope this guidance will encourage consistency while enabling innovation. We look forward to continuing to provide parents with the best experience possible across traditional and streaming platforms.”