An indepth overview of TV MA Rating

Nowadays it is very risky to watch most of the content on the TV with your kids and family without knowing what type of content is going to be streamed on your TV. 

If you are going to watch any content on Netflix and it shows the sign “TV-MA” you might be thinking of its relevance.

Well! Let me tell you, it is the rating of the show which is going to be streamed on your TV and based on the rating you can decide whether to watch the content with the family or is it suitable for your kids.

What TV maturity ratings are?

In short, The ratings inform us about the content of the show and help to ensure that younger viewers do not watch inappropriate material before they are ready.

I have properly described all the TV ratings with their suitability to be watched by which age groups in the article below. 

What Are TV Ratings?

TV ratings help the parents and audience to know that the show’s content is suitable for what age group of people.

On this basis, the parents can decide whether to allow their children to watch any particular show.

TV-MA Meaning

tv ma meaning

TV-MA stands for “Television Mature Audience” and such types of programs are mainly designed for “Mature Audience Only” and is age restricted as these programs are not suited for audiences below the age of 17

These programs might contain strong language, nudity, and sexual and violent activities which can be offensive to some of the viewers. Some of the instances of rated TV-MA shows are The Night Agent, Game of Thrones etc.

These shows are somewhere similar to R-rated shows but It is not wrong to say that TV MA-rated shows are even worse than R-rated shows.

Television content is rated based on strict guidelines that consider various factors. The content descriptors used for ratings in the US include:

The content descriptors used for ratings in the US
  1. D – Suggestive dialogue: This means that if a program contains innuendos or insinuations, it is likely to receive a TV-MA rating. However, such suggestive dialogues are more common in PG-13 programs.
  2. L – Coarse Language: This includes the use of curse words, swear words, vulgar language or any other impolite and socially offensive language.
  3. S – Sexual content: The definition of sexual content includes a wide range of erotic actions and emotions, from using sexual language and showing nudity to performing sexual activity.
  4. V – Violence: The content rating considers violence to be an important factor. Drug use is not classified separately and is usually included in this category.

TV Maturity Ratings

TV maturity ratings

Nowadays most of the content in America consists of sexuality and violence in the past few years and it is challenging to find any show which does not have any explicit sexual activity or violent content.

TV Maturity ratings play a vital role in deciding whether to watch a show or movie or not. Based on TV Maturity Ratings, the movies and shows are categorised for different age groups of people which helps them to decide the appropriate contents to be watched.

The initiative of giving TV Maturity ratings was first taken by an American Television content rating system on 12/19/1996 and this helped the parents to filter some sensible and safe content for their children.

These TV ratings helped the viewers to know what type of content they are choosing to watch and in current days it is very simple to imagine watching any show or movie without a rating. The children would watch even insensible content which is not meant for them.

It became very easy for the parents to understand the unsuitable and suitable content for their children. Now TV ratings are categorised into 6 types and classified according to different age groups.

All 6 ratings and R ratings are briefly discussed below.


The content of this rating is safe and appropriate for all groups of children. No age restrictions and specially made for very young audience and children.


Specially designed for children above the age of seven. The content is made for children who can differentiate between reality and imagination. It is not suggested to be suitable for children below the age of seven as the shows may contain comic or fantasy violence.


The content of TV-G is simple and can be watched by any age group of people but younger children might not find it interesting. The contents are exclusive and free from any violent activity, strong language or any sexual content. Thus, parents can allow their children to watch such content.


The shows rated as TV-PG should be watched by children under the oversee of parents as the content may include little strong language, mild sexual activities and some violent activities. 


TV-14-rated continents are intended for viewers of at least 14 years of age. It may contain materials inappropriate for children below the age of 14 years. The programs may contain intense sexual scenes and violence, suggestive dialogue and strong language.


Such content is exclusively made for adults and children below the age of 17 should not watch it as it may contain some inappropriate content for them. The programs might include obscene and coarse language used, sexual activity and graphic violence.

R Rating

Somewhere R Rating and TV-MA are equally placed but R-rated content is considered more suitable to watch.

You can go through this study to know more appropriately about the maturity rating of any content like movies, songs, a TV show and video games.

Tv-Ma, R, Nc-17 Ratings in Depth

It is beneficial to know in depth about the below ratings before comparing TV-MA and R ratings.

  • TV MA
  • R rating 
  • NC 17


TV-MA is a type of rating used to rate any television show. And this rating makes you aware that the content is inappropriate to be watched by audiences below 17 years of age.

TV-MA rated shows consist of indecent language, graphic violence and explicit sexual content. MA stands for “Mature Audience”. And this rating is considered to be the most extreme among all the ratings for cable television networks.

R Rating

Generally, the R rating is a movie rating system. This rating denotes that the age group of people till 13 years may find it inappropriate to watch whereas it is okay to be watched under the 17 age group of people. Thus this rating is kept between PG 13 and NC 17.

But it is always suggested for under 17 audiences to watch under the supervision of their parents or any adult. Because the R-rated shows contain sexual scenes, nudity, strong language intense sexual situations and extreme violence which might include bloodshed.


NC 17-rated movies are believed to be inappropriate for the audience below the age of 17 years. People below the age of 18 years are strictly prohibited to enter the theatres. NA 17 refers to no one 17 and under 17 being allowed to be watched to such rated content even in the presence of their parents or adults.

But NC – 17-rated content is nowhere considered to be negative as it does not contain any indecent or porn content in legal meaning.

Such rated content clearly specifies that it is appropriate to be watched by adult audiences only. Most of the NC – 17 rated movies might contain explicit and sexual content.
TV Ratings Explanation Video

Examples of popular TV-MA shows

Any shows which are rated as TV-MA is mainly to warn people that the show might contain contents which are unsuitable for audiences below the age of 17 years.

But in some cases, a few shows are categorised as TV MA-rated shows but there exists a huge difference. For instance, Game of Thrones and Trade Lasso both are rated as TV-MA shows but I feel there is such a system of huge difference between both shows.

You can check this Link to know the TV MA-rated shows and their contents. The names of a few such rated shows are Beef, Succession, The Night Agent, Obsession, Florida Man, Barry ETC.

The shows rated as TV-MA get the same rating for all their series but the content usually differs from episode to episode.

TV-MA vs R

TV-MA and R ratings seem to be equivalent to each other. The way of explanation for both makes them similar. Please read the explanation below.

TV-MA: The content for such rating is suitable to be watched by adults only and not considered appropriate for audiences below the age of 17 years. The programs might include explicit language, sexuality and violent or bloodshed scenes.

R: R-rated pictures are to be watched by audiences below the age of 17 years only under the supervision of their parents or any adults as the content may contain strong language, drug material, and strong sexual content which includes nudity and intense violence.

But mainly 2 differences are there between TV-MA and R ratings.

First, the R rating is used to denote any movies while the TV-MA rating is used for broadcasting or TV rating systems.

Second, TV-MA shows are the most restricted shows and R-rated movies are 2nd most restricted movie ratings.

NC-17 is the most restricted movie rating which implies no one 17 and under is permitted even under the supervision of parents or adults.

Thus, it can be simply said that TV-MA-rated broadcasts contain both R and NC – 17 Rated content. That is the reason, it is generally said that TV-MA and R Rating are similar but TV-MA is considered even worse than R-rating content.

Is TV MA Worse Than R?

Both  R Rating and TV-MA are considered to be similar but I would say that TV-MA is even worse than the R rating. The explicitness crude indecent language is found more in TV-MA as compared to R Rating content.

R Rating is the 2nd most restrictive rating in TV while TV-MA rating is the most restrictive rating in the television industry. TV-MA contains both the content of the R rating and the NC 17 rating. That’s why I find TV MA worse than R ratings.

R-rated contents are suitable to be watched by audiences below the age of 17 years under the surveillance of any adults or their parents. But TV MA-rated shows are strictly restricted to viewers below the age of 18 years. It can be watched only by adult audiences.

How To Prevent Children from Watching TV-MA Show?

How To Prevent Children from Watching TV-MA Show

Nowadays TVs are designed in such a way that they can be easily controlled by the parents for their children. The control for your TV totally depends on the model of your Television.

It can be easily understood by the youtube tutorials which can show you the direct and step-by-step process.

But a few famous TV brands have their Tv parental guidelines for which the link has been given below.

Samsung TV Kid friendly link

LG TV parental Controls

Sony TV parental Controls

Children can be easily restricted watching TV-MA content by these three levels:

  • Cable/Broadcasting
  • Smart TV Application
  • Application itself

When there were no smart TVs, it was really easy for parents to restrict their children to watch TV-MA content simply by blocking TV-MA cable content. And the process was also very easy for almost every parent.

But in today’s era, TV-MA shows can be easily downloaded by the applications directly and can be streamed on televisions as and when wanted. It involves many ways to watch any type of content on the TV. But thanks to the new parental control system can save children from any unsuitable content.

In some televisions, the applications can be made password protected which can play a vital role in controlling the downloading of new Apps.

For instance, in the case of Netflix, you can simply block the TV-MA content by setting parental controls.


  1. TV ratings were introduced in the year 1996 and categorised into 6 types ratings. Each rating specifies that the content of the show is suitable for what age group of viewers. It has proved to be very helpful for parents as they can easily decide which content is appropriate for their children and they can be easily kept away from any unsuitable content. 
  2. TV-MA stands for Matured Audience only which means the content is not suitable for viewers for 17 and below the age of 17 years.
  3. The R rating is used for movies and is not suitable for viewers of the age below 13 years. And viewers of 17 years and below should watch the content only under the supervision of their parents as it may contain inappropriate language, nudity and violence.
  4. TV-MA is considered to be even worse than R-rated content as it contains both R and NC 17 content. It is strictly instructed to be watched only by adult viewers and should only be watched by viewers below the age of 18 even under the surveillance of their parents or guardians.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Are TV Ratings Displayed?

Nowadays parents are very concerned about their children so that they do not watch any inappropriate content. So TV ratings are displayed more clearly and frequently before the start of any program.

In the upper left corner of the TV, a rating icon is displayed the initial 15 seconds before the start of the program. And if the show runs for more than an hour, it is again displayed in the next hour of the broadcast.

The rating is also displayed by many broadcast and cable TV networks.

What does TV-MA mean on Netflix?

TV-MA stands for “Mature Audiences Only”. It is a rating assigned to shows and movies that are deemed unsuitable for viewers under the age of 17 due to strong or explicit language, sexual content, violence or graphic images.

So if you’re looking for something more adult than PG-13, then TV-MA is the way to go. Netflix provides a wide variety of TV-MA shows and movies, so make sure you read the ratings and reviews before making your choice.

Keep in mind that some programs may contain content not suitable for all viewers, so watching with caution is always advised.

What age is TV-MA for?

TV-MA stands for TV Mature Audience which implies that the program is designed exclusively for adults and is not appropriate for children below the age of 17.

The material of the show might consist of graphic violent activities, sexual scenes, explicit language, blood shades, sexual dialogue, abusive jokes etc.

Is TV-MA the same as R on Netflix?

No, TV-MA is not similar to R on Netflix. Both are different from each other and are rated differently by 2 different systems.

The content of TV MA-rated shows is designed for people of the age group of 17 and above whereas R-rated shows can be watched even below the age of 17 years but strictly under the supervision of their parents or any adults.

TV MA-rated shows are highly restricted in the TV or broadcasting rating system whereas R-rated shows are 2nd most restricted shows.

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