Watershed (broadcasting)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In broadcasting, the watershed or safe harbour is one or more dayparts during which it is appropriate to broadcast programming aimed towards mature or adult audiences.

In the same way that a watershed refers to the crest dividing two drainage basins, a broadcasting watershed generally serves as a dividing line in a schedule between family-oriented programs, and programs aimed at or suitable for a more adult audience, such as those containing objectionable content (including graphic violence, profane language, nudity, and sexual intercourse, or strong references to these themes without necessarily portraying them).

In some countries, watersheds are enforced by broadcasting laws. Due to cultural differences around the world, watershed times can vary; for instance, in Australia, the watershed time starts at 19:30 (7:30 p.m.), and in Italy it starts at 22:30 (10:30 p.m.). Some countries also have multiple watershed layers, where less inappropriate content than others may be allowed at an earlier time of the evening, but may still be restricted. In addition, some countries are more lenient towards subscription television and radio or pay-per-view channels than towards free-to-air channels.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Watershed (broadcasting)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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