PTC uses shareholder status to challenge Microsoft ad placements


The head of the local Seattle chapter of the Parents Television Council went to a Microsoft shareholders meeting to protest the company’s support of certain television programs it doesn’t like via advertising dollars.

The watchdog group was not given the opportunity to speak at the meeting as requested, but Microsoft did ask it for written comments.

Episodes of “Allen Gregory” (Fox), “Two and a Half Men” (CBS) and “The Hard Times of RJ Berger” (MTV) were foremost on PTC’s agenda, but it also objected to advertising by the company on other programs as well.  “The Vampire Diaries, ““The Cleveland Show,” “Family Guy,” “Glenn Martin, DDS,” and “American Dad” all got a mention.

Peter Wick III represented PTC. “I wish to bring your attention to television shows Microsoft has supported with its advertising budget, and what we as shareholders have helped air with our investment dollars.”

After citing specific objectionable passages in the Fox, CBS and MTV programs, Wick wrote, “Exposure to graphic violence, explicit sex and profanity on television is unhealthy for children in their social and emotional development. Microsoft may not have produced these shows, but their advertising dollars support this content, which makes it possible for these types of programs to air in our homes, and accessible for children to watch, especially cartoon-based shows…I plead with you on behalf of millions of Americans to bring higher standards to Microsoft’s advertising practices.”

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s one thing to attack a program; it’s another to try to get followers to pressure advertisers; and it’s yet another to actually go to the stock market and buy a seat at the shareholder’s table. If nothing else, you have to give PTC credit for a well-rounded approach in pursuit of its goals.