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ESRB and Ingram Entertainment Launch Initiative To Bolster Ratings Education And Enforcement Among Independent Retailers

May 31, 2007

In-Store ESRB Signage Being Distributed to 10,000 Stores Nationwide

NEW YORK – The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and entertainment product distributor Ingram Entertainment Inc. today announced the launch of an initiative through which 10,000 independent and small chain retailers nationwide will receive ready-to-use in-store signage educating consumers about the ESRB ratings and supporting store policies regarding the sale or rental of Mature-rated video games to those under the age of 17. The materials are being disseminated in the May 28th issue of Ingram’s Entertainment Preview magazine, coinciding with “Entertainment Ratings & Labeling Awareness Month” in June.

“The ESRB actively supports retailers in their efforts with respect to the sale or rental of video games, and their support of the ratings has been tremendous, as evidenced by the most recent report from the FTC,” said ESRB president Patricia Vance. “Our partnership with national retail outlets continues to be strong, and with the help of Ingram Entertainment we’re helping smaller, independent retailers across the country inform their consumers about the rating system and support their store policies.”

Five removable signage components (images attached) are being included in the magazine, including shelf strips that explain the ratings and accompany games on the shelves as well as store policy signs and tent cards that advise consumers of the store’s policy against selling or renting M-rated games to customers under 17. A letter from Bob Geistman, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Ingram Entertainment, accompanies the inserts to explain the importance of supporting the ESRB ratings at retail as well as encourage retailers to visit the ESRB website at www.esrb.org, where they can download print-ready versions of additional signage for their stores.

“Indie retailers are a vibrant and significant part of the video game market, tending to offer a neighborhood environment that endears them to their customers,” said Mr. Geistman, who is also chairman of the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA). “Providing this signage to these thousands of stores will undoubtedly help foster that unique and personal relationship by enabling stores to offer their customers information that is vital to the way they buy and rent games.”

“Since 2004, EMA and other retail trade associations have declared every June to be ‘Entertainment Ratings & Labeling Awareness Month’ in order to increase awareness and utilization by consumers of the video game and motion picture rating systems and the music labeling system and to remind retailers to reinforce ratings education and enforcement in their establishments,” Bo Andersen, president of EMA said. “EMA commends and thanks Ingram Entertainment and ESRB for providing independent and small chain retailers with these materials during Entertainment Ratings & Labeling Awareness Month. This will enable those retailers to join others across our industry in helping consumers choose games they deem suitable for their children and families.”

The ESRB engages in several initiatives to reach parents about the ratings, including an award-winning Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign that includes television, radio, print and online components. Working in partnership with national retailers to post in-store signage about the ratings as well as groups such as the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) to distribute informational brochures and develop online resources, the ESRB continues to aggressively pursue opportunities that present consumers, especially parents, with information about the tools at their disposal.

The ESRB rating system includes six age-based rating categories: EC (Early Childhood) for ages 3+; E (Everyone) for ages 6+; E10+ (Everyone 10 and older); T (Teen) for ages 13+; M (Mature) for ages 17+; and AO (Adults Only) which indicates that the game should only be played by adults age 18 and older. The rating is found on the front of virtually every game sold at retail in the U.S. The rating system also includes over 30 content descriptors, found next to the rating on the back of game packages, which describe content in the game that may be of interest or concern to parents or may have triggered a rating category, including violence, sexual content, language, use or depiction of controlled substances, and gambling.

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About Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)

The ESRB is a non-profit, self-regulatory body established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). ESRB independently assigns computer and video game content ratings, enforces advertising guidelines, and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices for the interactive entertainment software industry.

About Ingram Entertainment Inc.

Ingram Entertainment Inc. is the leading national distributor of home entertainment products, including DVDs, Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, video game hardware and software, audio books, and accessories.

Contacts: 

Eliot Mizrachi, ESRB
917.522.3235
emizrachi@esrb.org

Seth Robertson, Ingram
615.287.4542
press@clearspring.com

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