British Board of Film Classification

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A BBFC licence is the only way Digital Video Services can use BBFC age ratings

The license covers platforms that deliver content via digital file or content stream, including VOD, sVOD, EST, digital rental services and those services using the age ratings as part of listings guides and databases.

Age ratings issued by the BBFC for theatrical releases cannot be used for content distributed on digital video platforms.

Our licensing FAQs (including licensing costs and application process) can be found here.

Benefits of licensing BBFC age ratings for your service

The following benefits, data and services are available when you become a licenced digital video platform:

Licensing is the only way your service can use our BBFC age ratings (text and/or symbols). This includes:

  • Age ratings for over 200,000 DVD, BD, VHS and VOD works

  • Age ratings include Film, TV episodes and content for children

Enhance your customer experience and protect your brand

  • BBFC age ratings are familiar to UK cinemagoers and consumers of DVD and Blu-ray products

  • The BBFC’s labelling system is trusted and understood by the public. Recent consumer research reveals that:

  • 89% of parents check for age ratings when downloading films

  • 92% of parents prefer to download films which have a BBFC age rating

  • The public agrees over 90% of the BBFC’s age ratings

  •  When you provide BBFC age ratings and BBFCinsight on your service this allows your customers to make safe and informed purchasing and viewing choices. This is particularly useful for any parents or guardians.

Customer complaint handling

  • We can answer your customers’ questions on the suitability of BBFC rated works directly or via your own customer service team, whichever you prefer.

BBFCinsight – additional rating information

  • We offer extensive enhanced metadata and assets as part of your licence. This includes:

  • Bite-sized (max 72 characters) overview of key age rating issues – as seen on film posters and the back of DVD packaging. A quick reference point for parents and viewers.  E.g. “Contains strong language and mild sex references.”   Available for over 42,000 feature films and over 37,000 TV works

  • Any works first released in UK cinemas also have detailed information available that explains the issues and themes which led to the film’s age rating.

  • These are exclusive to Licensed Digital Video Platforms.

  • Available for over 1,200 films – including all new cinema releases.

BBFC Electronic Black Cards (EBC)

  • All UK cinema releases since 1912 have been preceded by a version of the BBFC black card.

  • Electronic Black Cards are available to Licenced Platforms. Not only does this replicate the cinema experience, it also denotes legal content, and acts as a final safeguard.

  • BBFC Electronic Black Cards can also contain BBFCinsight.

  • The cards can be co-branded and either hardwired to pre-roll on with your premium VOD content or dynamically attached via your playlisting/scheduling system.  They are entirely optional. 

  • Customers wishing to implement them on their service receive completed bespoke cards ready to pre-roll with all film title and age rating information.

  • We can also provide technical assistance with implementation.

Compliance advice

  • As UK’s leading experts in film and video compliance we can answer your questions and help guide your own compliance policies.

Data matching

  • We can map our age ratings to your entire slate.


All service elements listed are OPTIONAL and costs are INCLUSIVE of the licensing fee.


Licensing FAQs


What does it cost?

The fee structure is tiered and based upon the estimated number of digital video titles on your service over the course of each year.

  • Up to 100 titles: No licence fee

  • 101 to 250 titles: £500 p.a. (excl. VAT)

  • 251 to 1,000 titles: £1,000 p.a. (excl. VAT)

  • 1,000 to 5,000 titles: £2,000 p.a. (excl. VAT)

  • More than 5,000 titles: £4,000 p.a. (excl. VAT)

Fees run January 1st - Dec 31st each year (pro-rated as necessary).

How do I join?

Please complete our simple one page licensing form. Your signature will record you agreement to be bound by our Digital Licence and the BBFC’s standard terms and conditions.


What age ratings can I use?

Any work passed by the BBFC for DVD, Blu-ray, VHS or VOD. These are accessible on our website for any search result listed by type ‘Video’ or ‘VOD’.


How can I use BBFC age ratings for cinema works on my digital video service?

BBFC age ratings issued for theatrical works must not be used for digital video content (EST/VOD) in most cases. Only BBFC home entertainment ratings issued for packaged media (DVD/BD) or digital-only use should be displayed on your service. 

There is one exception where BBFC theatrical ratings can be used. When works not yet rated for home entertainment use are made available to pre-order for Electronic Sell Through (EST) on digital video services, the pre-order can temporarily display the theatrical rating. There are some important caveats to this, full information about this exception can be found here.


Using BBFC theatrical ratings for EST pre-order titles

Digital video services can display a BBFC theatrical classification for a title on pre-order under the following circumstances:

  • When a work has not yet been classified by the BBFC, but the identical version has a BBFC theatrical classification

  • The label 'TBC*' must be used alongside all instances of the age label for the pre-order. This should link to the following disclaimer ideally on the page, or hot-linked to a section in your FAQs that declares the following:  

'A version of this work was classified by the BBFC for use in UK cinemas. This work is not yet rated for home entertainment use.'



VOD services should remove, or not use, BBFC theatrical classification and 'TBC*' on pre-order under the following circumstances:

  • When the work is not rated by the BBFC for use in cinemas

  • When the home entertainment release is known to be different to version released theatrically 

  • When the work has a BBFC home entertainment rating

  • When the work is released (ie. is no longer a pre-order). If no BBFC age rating is available at this stage the rating label should be changed to 'unrated'.

  • If the work has been refused a BBFC home entertainment rating


What else should I be aware of when licensing the BBFC’s age ratings?

Unrated works

  • The BBFC offers the most comprehensive coverage of film and TV age ratings of any UK body.

  • We encourage Licensed Services to request that their content suppliers only provide content with BBFC age ratings for DVD, BD or VOD use. Content that is not BBFC-rated, or has only been rated by the BBFC for theatrical exhibition, can be submitted for a cost-effective digital age rating via our Watch & Rate service.

Find out more about Watch & Rate – Digital-only from the BBFC

  • We are content for dual labelling systems to be used on Licensed Services, but it should be clear to the customer which age ratings have been issued by the BBFC and which ones are from another system.

  • Alternative age ratings systems should not use text or symbols representing the following:  U, PG, 12, 12A, 15, 18, R18

  • Alternative symbols should not take on the shape, colour or design style of the BBFC age rating symbols

  • BBFC age ratings issued for theatrical works must not be used in place of a BBFC age rating issued for home entertainment formats on VOD services. If a work is available as an EST (VOD) pre-order the use of a BBFC theatrical age rating is permitted on a temporary basis under specific conditions. These are detailed here.


Explaining BBFC age ratings

  • We recommend that you provide an explanation of what each BBFC age ratings category means in your FAQS. We can help with this.

  • We ask that Licensed Services also provide a link to the BBFC website and display the BBFC logo.


Using BBFC symbols on low res devices/small screens

  • We encourage Licensed Services to use the official BBFC age ratings symbols wherever possible and at a size no smaller than 25px in height.

  • In some instances the space available for the age rating icon is so small that the category information in the traditional BBFC symbol isn’t properly legible.  In these instances (usually below 25px in height) we offer licensees exclusive use of our small symbols. These contain a refined version of the classic BBFC symbols but retain the same shape, colour and fill that make them identifiable and their meaning clear.

  • These are ideal for use on listings, search results pages or on your GUI.

  • These can be obtained on request from


Download our digital license below.

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