- IMDb Founder and CEO Col Needham joins as Global Ambassador in newly created role
- Two new Independent Directors selected to join the BBFC Board under Chair Natasha Kaplinsky OBE
- John Stanley (Former EVP & MP from Warner Bros.) and Darren Jobling (Tech Entrepreneur) will bring additional industry expertise to the organisation
- New non-executive appointments coincide with the organisation reforming to a single and streamlined Board structure
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has today announced the appointment of two new members to the BBFC’s Board, chaired by Natasha Kaplinsky (OBE), as well as the recruitment of a Global Ambassador. Col Needham, Darren Jobling and John Stanley will work closely with Natasha Kaplinsky OBE to build and deliver on the strategic vision for the organisation over the coming years.
In the newly created role of Global Ambassador, Col Needham (founder and CEO of IMDb, the world’s most popular and authoritative source for information on movies, TV shows, and celebrities) will be responsible for representing the BBFC internationally with key stakeholders, contributing closely to the development of the international aspects of the BBFC’s strategy including its work in the AI space.
John Stanley has over 35 years of experience within transactional, physical and digital media. He is the former EVP & MD from Warner Bros. where he spent 15 years leading the Home Entertainment division in the UK, Eire, Spain and Nordics. Prior to this, John was at 20th Century Fox in senior Sales, Marketing and Managing Director roles. Darren Jobling is a tech entrepreneur and innovator. He started his career in the games industry where he pioneered the creation of racing simulations for industry giants such as Electronic Arts, Activision and Take Two. He is now the CEO of Zerolight, a visionary start-up organisation that creates digital marketing platforms for companies such as VW, Mitsubishi, Lucid Motors, and BRP.
Darren Jobling and John Stanley will join the current BBFC Board, which comprises Natasha Kaplinsky OBE (President, BBFC and Chair, BBFC Board), Murphy Cobbing (Vice President), Lord Patel of Bradford OBE (Vice President), David Austin OBE (Chief Executive); the Board’s Classification Directors, designated by the Government to classify films and series under the Video Recordings Act 1984 (VRA) and who are responsible for all policies relating to classification. Along with existing Independent Director, Gloria De Piero, the Board’s three Independent Directors are responsible for advising the BBFC on matters relating to organisational strategy and the administering of its financial affairs.
Each Board member brings expertise from a variety of disciplines, including the cinema, television, video on demand (VoD) and media industries, as well as from public service, social welfare and charity roles.
Natasha Kaplinsky OBE, said: “I am delighted to welcome Darren and John who together bring such brilliant and wide ranging experience to our already esteemed board. It is such an exciting time for the BBFC right now as we look to unveil our new standards - shaped by talking to over 12,000 people from across the UK - and launch cutting edge technology to further our mission of ensuring that children and families continue to view content that is right for them and avoid what’s not.”
“The newly created role of BBFC Global Ambassador is of supreme importance to us as we continue to build on the great work we are already doing with leading global streaming services, such as Netflix and Prime Video. The BBFC has worked closely with IMDb for many years and I can’t think of a better person to represent us across the world, than Col.”
She added “I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our outgoing board members, Mel Alcock, Claire Tavernier, John Aalbers and Lesley Mackenzie for all their hard work and dedication over the years as members of the BBFC Board.”
Col Needham, said: “I have been in love with film for my entire life and so I’m beyond delighted, and honoured, to be working with the BBFC in this capacity. It is undoubtedly an exciting time in the evolution of the BBFC and I can't wait to represent them around the world as their first ever Global Ambassador."
Darren Jobling, said: "I am delighted to join the board of the BBFC at such a transformative juncture in their long and distinguished history. With the explosion of media, I believe that the BBFC's mission of empowering individuals to view age appropriate content has never been more relevant. I very much look forward to assisting in the future development of their groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence technologies.”
John Stanley, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled to be joining the BBFC's leadership team and very much look forward to learning more about the wonderful work they do. After years of working on the other side of the content classification process, I’m now excited to be part of the future direction of the organisation at what is possibly one of the most existing times in its 112-year history.
BBFC Global Brand Ambassador
The BBFC is independent and not-for-profit, and here to help everyone in the UK – especially children and families – choose age-appropriate films, videos and websites, wherever and however they watch or use them. Now, as well as classifying films released in UK cinemas and on DVD and Blu-ray, it’s providing age-ratings for Video On Demand and music videos online, and helping Mobile Network Operators set parental controls at the right level. Please visit bbfc.co.uk for further information.
Col Needham is the Founder and CEO of IMDb, the world’s most popular and authoritative source for information on film, TV, and celebrities. Born and living in the UK, Col has had a lifelong interest in both technology and entertainment, having now seen over 15,000 films. Col published the first version of IMDb online in October 1990 and IMDb became a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon in April 1998. IMDbPro, the essential resource for entertainment professionals, launched in 2002 and continues to empower its members to launch and grow their careers. Col is a board member of Into Film in the UK and Film Independent in the US. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bristol in 2018. Col has been a jury member for leading film festivals around the world, including the Mumbai Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, South By Southwest, and the Tribeca Film Festival.
Darren has software innovation encoded in his DNA, launching his career in the games industry where he pioneered the creation of racing simulations for industry giants such as Electronic Arts, Activision and Take Two. In 2014, he ventured into uncharted territory with the launch of ZeroLight, quickly earning it a spot amongst the Top 100 Start-Ups in the UK. As the visionary force behind ZeroLight, Darren leads a team that creates digital marketing platforms for global mobility leaders, including VW, Mitsubishi, Lucid Motors, and BRP. His commitment to innovation has not only elevated ZeroLight to industry leading status, but has also cultivated robust strategic alliances with the major players in the technology sector. Recognised as one of the Most Ambitious Business Leaders in the UK, Darren continues to shape the future of digital innovation at the intersection of commercial applications and cutting edge technologies.
John has over 35 years of experience within transactional, physical and digital media, within Film, TV, Games, Music and Branded products businesses to bring to the BBFC Board. He is the former EVP & MD at Warner Bros. where he spent 15 years leading the Home Entertainment division in the UK, Eire, Spain and Nordics. During his career John has led commercial entertainment businesses through format transitions, from physical tapes to discs and on to digital streaming/downloads. He also helped drive the industry within traditional Retail outlets and managed the birth of E-commerce and Broadcast media companies as they entered the transactional Video and Games industries.
John was Chairman of the Home Entertainment Industry council for three years and is an industry expert across International and US Film and Games operations. Prior to his time at Warner Bros, he was at 20th Century Fox in senior Sales, Marketing and Managing Director roles. He began his career in commercial positions in the Music Industry, initially in Retail and then with CBS Records and Polygram Music.