Published: 10th February 2011

Creative Industries Minister Welcomes BBFC Watch and Rate Scheme

Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey, today welcomed the BBFC's new Watch and Rate scheme, which provides classifications for straight to download content, as good for the industry and good for the public.

Speaking after seeing a demonstration of the new scheme, he said:

"The Watch and Rate scheme is a welcome addition to the work done by the BBFC. "The internet has completely changed the way we access videos and music so it is good to see the BBFC adapting to meet the demands of the online world. "The BBFC is providing industry with a quick and cost effective classification system for straight-to-download content and the public with an age rating system they trust and understand. "Age ratings will help parents protect their children from inappropriate content and provide people with more confidence about the content they and their families are watching."

Since 2008 the BBFC has been working with the UK video industry to provide a content labelling system for film, video and TV content supplied by internet, wireless or mobile signal which the public can trust and understand.  By giving over 200,000 titles a digital classification the BBFC has provided consumers with access to labelling and content information for a massive 'back catalogue' of films and television programmes which are available through video-on-demand, digital rental/sell through, streaming, mobile platforms and connected TV.

Platforms and e-tailers using the BBFC's classifications for their online content pay a licensing fee under the service.  As well as the 'back catalogue' all their new content classified by the BBFC is given an 'online' certificate for digital distribution. For material which is going straight to online the BBFC has developed a brand new classification service, known as 'Watch and Rate' which provides digital e-tailers and platforms with a robust labelling and child protection system for the online world at a cost and speed which reflects the needs of digital distribution.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said:

"Our new service for straight to online content will provide the industry with a service which will ensure that they can get their content, along with BBFC labelling, out into the rapidly moving digital space.  For parents it will offer labelling and content advice they know and trust in what is, for many, an unfamiliar landscape. "We have an exciting part to play in the film and video industry's digital future. For almost 100 years, we have supported innovation in the moving image industries, and our latest service is designed to support the ever-increasing technological development in our second century.  Issuing 200,000 certificates at a stroke is a major step towards this."

Lavinia Carey, Director General of the British Video Association said:

"The BBFC's act of issuing 200,000 'online' certificates has shown a major commitment to the digital development of home entertainment. At a time when the film and video industry is reinventing itself, the BBFC's role and contribution to the digital future is hugely appreciated and supported by our members".

Stephen Joy, Production Manager of Entertainment One said:

"Watch & Rate enables us to distribute certified works digitally without the costs of marketing a physical DVD. Having their trusted symbols attached to our products in the digital space has allowed entry to key on-demand platforms fast, and at low cost."

Eric Stevens, Head of Independent Distribution for Independent Film Company said:

"BBFC's Watch & Rate provided us with a cost effective way of certifying products for use in the On Demand space. Licensing and sign-up was quick, service costs were cost effective, for a content owner of our size and online submission was straightforward and streamlined."

Notes to Editors

1. members include: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Europe 20th Century Fox Warner Brothers Paramount Pictures Universal Pictures 2 Entertain BFI Video Contender Home Entertainment Lions Gate Momentum Pictures Revolver Network (Sound & Vision) 2K Games Darker Enterprises Harmony Video Optimum Releasing HiT Entertainment ITV Artificial Eye

2. Independent research indicates that 84% of adults (91% of parents) want to see BBFC classifications on downloadable / streaming films and other digital audiovisual content.