Matt Rourke, AP
FILE – This Monday, July 17, 2017, file photo shows the Netflix logo on an iPhone in Philadelphia. Much of the attention showered on Netflix focuses on its insatiable appetite for original content. But this streaming network’s multi-billion-dollar annual outlay for new programming necessitates another challenge: Matching each program with the subscribers who are likely to enjoy it. Netflix tags content, then identifies viewer habits. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
T-Mobile announced earlier this week that it will allow free Netflix streaming for everyone who has the cellphone service.
But the Parents Television Council has advised caution over the movie streaming service, writing a letter directly to Netflix to address the concerns over how access to streaming can harm children.
PTC President Tim Winter sent a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, asking him “not to lose sight of the unique needs of millions of parents who rely on you to help provide a safer entertainment media environment for their families.”
Winter said Netflix’s move gives the company a chance to show how much it cares for families.
Winter’s letter offered a number of suggestions as well about what Netflix can do to improve its family-friendly service. He said one good idea would be to partner with other family-friendly filtering companies, such as ClearPlay and VidAngel.
“Netflix can and should embrace and engage with the content filtering companies that help parents block offensive material within their homes,” he said. “Companies such as VidAngel and ClearPlay should be your strategic partners as gateways to family audiences across the nation and around the world.”
Winter previously told the Deseret News that he supports family-friendly filtering technology and has even called for more support for VidAngel.
Here’s a quick review of what else Winter’s letter said:
• Winter said Netflix offers parental controls, but youngsters can still surf through adult-related content if those controls aren’t turned on.
Winter suggests: Netflix should require a password before switching from a child’s profile to an adult’s profile.
• Winter said that adult content is paired with children’s content, specifically cartoons that are more mature, like the movie “Sausage Party” or animated TV shows like “Family Guy.”
Winter suggests: Group items in the menu by rating and not only genre.
• Most Netflix original material is rated MA, but few items are for families. In fact, according to PTC, only 1 percent of Netflix originals are rated G and 8 percent are PG.
Winter suggests: Develop more original programming that is family-friendly.
Winter also suggested that Netflix could offer a discounted family rate, where they won’t see any adult programs.
Overall, Winter said he hopes to see Netflix make some changes to improve the experiences for families.
“By making these changes, Netflix would become a much more family-friendly environment for the growing legions of cord-cutting parents who are turning to streaming video services for their family entertainment needs,” Winter’s letter said. “Not only is this an important matter for your family subscribers, but we believe it to be in Netflix’s strategic financial interest to do more to keep families interested in your service, and to your family market.”