Ad Campaign Aims to Teach Parents to Block Objectionable TV Shows

Broadcasters and other entertainment providers unveiled a $300 million ad campaign Thursday to teach parents how to shield their children from objectionable television shows.

The humorous public service announcements urge parents to visit a Web site that offers information on how to use the "v-chip" and cable set-top boxes to keep sex and violence out of their living rooms.

Jack Valenti, former president and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, introduced the ads at a briefing before leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Valenti said the online tools will equip parents to "be the boss of what your kids watch."

The campaign is coordinated by the Advertising Council in cooperation with the MPAA, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Consumer Electronics Association, the major television networks and satellite TV providers.

The campaign was originally announced last April in the hope it would persuade Congress not to pass legislation increasing penalties for indecent broadcasting. Congress voted to increase fines tenfold anyway.

Valenti said the new campaign was not about fending off legislation but "doing the right thing."

While the indecency law covers only broadcast television, Valenti said the new education program should help parents include cable and satellite programming, too.

Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, said the campaign will work "if people listen."