Challenge: Faced with the threat of government regulation if they did not take steps to rate TV content, the broadcast, motion picture and cable industries turned to the Podesta Group.
Strategy: Build a diverse, industry-wide coalition to design and implement a television ratings system. Generate support for the system in the government and trade press through visits to key policymakers and a string of favorable op-eds, editorials and columns. Shepherd this partnership of fierce competitors through a roundtable with the president at the White House. Arbitrate their talks with national parents’ and children’s advocacy groups and educational and medical associations, including the PTA, APA and Roman Catholic Church, as they worked to refine the ratings system.
Result: From what began as an alliance between the major television networks, media companies and the heads of the cable and movie industries, the Podesta Group built a 26-member, intra-industry coalition. In light of the entertainment industry’s efforts, Congress agreed to a three-year moratorium on further regulation of the industry. Our effort staved off the constitutional battle over First Amendment rights that surely would have ensued had the government attempted to further restrict the industry. To this day, we maintain the coalition's operations.