Published: 1st November 2012

Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey praises the BBFC and the home entertainment industry

Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey, today opened the BBFC’s international film classifiers conference in London.

He praised the BBFC for their work with the home entertainment industry to bring well understood and trusted BBFC age ratings and content advice to films streamed online. During his opening speech, he said:

“The Film Policy Review – which reported to Government this year, under the leadership of Lord Smith – recommended that we should aim to connect the widest possible range of audiences with the broadest and richest range of films from around the world. However, in the digital world this means that information provided to consumers about and through classification is becoming even more important, enabling people to use technology to select the content that is right for them.

“In independent research carried out for the BBFC last year, 85% of respondents said it was important to have consistent BBFC classifications available for VOD content, rising to 90% of parents of children under 16.  I therefore welcome the innovative work being done since 2008 by the BBFC in partnership with the home entertainment industry to bring well understood and trusted BBFC age ratings and content advice into the online space.  I saw in action for myself in 2011 the BBFC’s then newly launched Watch and Rate service for classifying online content.  It’s a great example of self regulation – a quick and effective service which gives parents the reassurance of a trusted age rating for films and videos being distributed online, without creating a disproportionate burden on content providers and platforms.

“I’m pleased that one of those platforms – BT Vision – will be here tomorrow to brief you on its experience in using BBFC age ratings for its Video on Demand offering.  BT Vision and platforms such as Talk Talk, Netflix and Tesco’s Blinkbox deserve credit for putting parental empowerment and child safety first by working so closely with the BBFC in this area.  I look forward to other platforms – several of which are in discussions with the BBFC – to do likewise. ”

Tomorrow BT Vision, one of 38 home entertainment platforms and film studios using the BBFC’s service for online film content will discuss their use of BBFC digital services at the international conference, which is attended by classifiers from 17 countries across the globe.

The BBFC’s service for streamed and downloaded content was launched in collaboration with the home entertainment industry in 2008. The service provides trusted classifications, category symbols and Consumer Advice to set-top box, video-on-demand and other online content providers. Key affiliates using the BBFC service include Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Europe, Warner Bros., Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal, BT Vision, Tesco/Blinkbox, TalkTalk, Picturebox and Netflix.

This year the BBFC celebrates its centenary with a film season at the BFI Southbank in London throughout November and a new book, Behind the Scenes at the BBFC: Film Classification from the Silver Screen to the Digital Age . The book is published by BFI Publishing and is available from 23 November 2012.