Hollywood studios' chokehold on content filtering appears to have loosened significantly, compliments of one of the largest retailers in the world.
Vudu, the streaming service from Walmart, has launched a new feature that allows users to filter out content they consider offensive. According to an article in Variety, Vudu's "Family Play" feature lets viewers "automatically skip or mute 'objectionable' content, such as profanity, sex and nudity, violence, and substance abuse."
Tim Winter, president of Parents Television Council, says "what's nice is that parents will be afforded an opportunity to watch movies that they might not otherwise want to watch because [they have] content that their family might not be comfortable with."
Vudu used a combination of human reviewers to tag scenes in each movie and technology like automated algorithms, Variety reports – and reportedly worked with the studios to develop the feature. With the studios having been fiercely opposed to content-filtering technology (see related stories concerning VidAngel's battle with Hollywood), Winter tells OneNewsNow this move by Walmart is a huge win for families.
"We're thrilled that a company the size of Walmart can take this issue on – just really grab the bull by the horns – because there are other technology providers that have tried to do this; and the studios are so big and so strong, they've sued these companies into bankruptcy," he describes.
"I don't think they're going to be able to sue a Walmart into bankruptcy," Winter continues. "Walmart will be able to fight back and really withstand that pushback from Hollywood."
The PTC president is hopeful Walmart's decision will lead many other streaming platforms to provide content filtering for parents. "I feel like Walmart is clearing the beaches of Normandy so everybody else can come ashore," he adds.
Variety states "Family Play" currently is available on almost 600 titles, the majority of them either PG or PG-13.