Australian Council on Children and the Media

Stop ambushing parents with unsuitable trailers

The Issue

For years, parent have been ambushed by trailers for TV program and movies that don't align with the nature of programs chosen for family and child viewing.

These trailers maybe scary or disturbing. They may be "sanitised" to meet time zone classification requirements, and mislead about the promoted program’s suitablitiy.

ACCM has consistently advocated on this issue for more than 30 years, but with little change. As far back as 1987, we initiated an enquiry into trailers with the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal and gained a successful outcome, only to have it struck down by an industry appeal to the Federal Court.

It’s time the industry changed its behaviour to protect children and support parents’ choices.

What's happened recently

During the review of the Free TV Code of Practice in 2015, ACCM argued strongly that G or PG programs chosen for family viewing should not contain promos and trailers for higher classified programs and movies.  ACCM also lodged numerous complaints on trailers it considered unsuitable for G or PG time zones.

However, the revised Code contains very few effective protections against this longstanding and concerning practice, will make the “ambush by trailer” issues much worse, and include:

  • removing all G time zones,
  • bringing the M time zone forward to 7.30pm, and MA15+ time to 8.30pm.
  • allowing programs of any classification to be promoted at most times of the day (excluding only within C and P programs) so long as the content of the trailer matches the time zone. There’s a small concession for promos within G and PG programs shown in the new M 7.30- 8.30pm zone. 

What needs to happen

In cinemas, the rules are that trailers for higher classified movies are not shown in G or PG movies.  We should keep pushing for that principle to apply for TV.

What you can do

Send us examples (with date, time, program, channel and name of the program trailer shown) if you see trailers that bother you. And complain to the station you are watching.