The Dove Foundation

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The Dove Foundation is US organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan that issues film reviews, ratings and endorsements of movies that it considers suitable for family audiences.

At one time, the organization was identified for its partnership with a for-profit entity that engaged in telemarketing activities that were alleged to be in violation of the Missouri Do-Not-Call Implementation Act.

Description[edit]

The organization was founded in 1991 as a not-for-profit organization. According to the organization's website, its stated mission is "to encourage and promote the creation, production, distribution and consumption of wholesome family entertainment".[1] Although its programs are diversified, it is perhaps best known for reviewing movies for suitability for family viewing, and endorsing acceptable ones with the Dove "Family-Approved" Seal. The organization has also commissioned independent studies completed by the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University to analyze the comparative profitability and return on investment of MPAA-rated films in 1999 and 2005. Those studies have reinforced its efforts to advocate for the production of more values based films and have been relied upon by some in the industry seeking support for their projects. Additionally, Dove has sponsored its Family Film Festival in partnership with local theaters featuring films with its Family-Approved Seal and pioneered a pilot project, "The Dove Movie Channel," to bring free movies to hospitalized children.

Dove's web site states that review standards and criteria are based on Judeo-Christian values gauging the amount of sex, coarse language, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, nudity and behavior deemed unchristian by the site. The website states that Dove's fund-raising strategy of not soliciting contributions from the film industry for its operations eliminates commercial pressure as a factor in its reviews. However, The Dove Foundation has partnered with commercial enterprises. In one instance, its former association with Feature Films for Families, an on-line retailer of home entertainment, led to questions regarding the nature of the partnership. [2]

National Opinion Poll and Telemarketing[edit]

The organization previously conducted a telephone opinion poll regarding movie content. As of July 31, 2007, the telephone survey had been concluded. The poll's results and motivation were questioned: The methodology was cited by one source as having a sampling bias in which respondents were screened for participation that might suggest they generally agreed with The Foundation's mission. The surveyor requested to speak with "The lady of the house…" while disqualifying households without children as part of the study for not meeting the requirements of the sample population. The Dove Foundation has noted that screening questions are commonly used by market research firms for validating respondents. Additionally, Dove and its partner were accused by the state of Missouri of violating its "Do Not Call Implementation Act"[citation needed] (Missouri No Call suit nets $70,000 settlement. St. Louis Business Journal. August 22, 2006.) by using the opinion poll as a means of circumventing the Act to allow Feature Films For Families to market its products.[3] The US opinion poll was also criticized for using a set of pre-recorded scripts which were played in different sequences according to the responses received and as chosen by an operator listening to the calls. Response choices were presented in a yes-or-no format together with several multiple-choice questions. Respondents' continuation was limited by a finite number of scripts based on responses to qualifying questions.[1] The use of a single operator monitoring four calls simultaneously was also seen as a methodological weakness. In addition, the pollster asked for permission for a follow-up call. In the follow-up call, respondents were solicited to buy films by the for-profit partner, Feature Films for Families. Although the foundation did not directly sell films, DVDs or videos, it was closely associated with the for-profit partner which paid for call center expenses.

Over four and one half million participated in the survey,[4] and there were complaints on blogs and bulletin boards. Some of those telephoned by Feature Films for Families were annoyed by the way the call was conducted, at any hour of the day and regardless of whether or not the family was on the United States National Do Not Call Registry. Complaints cited the bluntness of the telemarketers and their aggressive interviewing techniques. The Missouri Attorney General's office received approximately 300 complaints.

The Attorney General of Missouri alleged that the mode of operation was a means to bypass the FCC do-not-call list restriction and imposed a restraining order on these activities in Missouri in March 2006.[5]

As a result of the Missouri Attorney General's action, Feature Films for Families Inc. of Murray, Utah, and the Dove Foundation reached a settlement agreement in the amount of US$70,000 in August 2006 for the alleged violation of state "No Call" laws.[2][6]

During this period, The Dove Foundation's call center was listed by whocalled.us as their most-reported telephone number.[7]

The Dove Foundation currently has no active relationship with Feature Films For Families.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dove Family Approved Videos, DVDs and Movies
  2. ^ a b Missouri No Call suit nets $70,000 settlement. St. Louis Business Journal. August 22, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-05. 
  3. ^ Serata, Tammy (November 5, 2005). "The Dove Foundation Meets Quantum Theory". Blogcritics.org. 
  4. ^ "The Dove Foundation - Opinion Poll Statistics". 
  5. ^ "Company selling films used non-profit organization as front to try to circumvent state No Call law, Nixon says" (Press release). Missouri Attorney General, Jay Nixon. March 27, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-05. 
  6. ^ For the organization's response to criticism of the call center operation, see The Dove Foundation's FAQ page [1]
  7. ^ whocalled.us. "Calls From (800) 679-0336". Retrieved 2007-08-06. 

External links[edit]