Published: 26th March 2016

Deregulation of Cinema Advertising


I should like to inform you of changes to the regulation of cinema advertising.

From 31 March 2016, the BBFC will delegate to the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) the regulation of all cinema advertisements in the UK.

Following a Government consultation, the BBFC and the CAA agreed to end the dual regulation of advertisements shown in UK cinemas. Henceforth, the CAA will assess and classify all cinema advertisements. The BBFC retains its classification role in relation to trailers, public information films, campaigning films and all other theatrical works.

DCMS carried out a public consultation in May 2012 on the future regulation of cinema advertising. At the time, the BBFC and the CAA both classified cinema advertisements. The BBFC and the CAA argued in favour of removing this dual regulation and duplication of responsibility. As a result, the BBFC has stepped back from the day-to-day classification of cinema advertisements and sub-contracted responsibility for classifying such advertisements to the CAA.  

In the event of there being any doubt as to whether a particular film should be considered an advertisement, the BBFC shall determine whether such film requires to be classified in accordance with its Classification Guidelines and will inform the CAA accordingly.

Submissions made to the BBFC in the lead up to 31 March will be classified in the usual way. Any customers with credit on their accounts with the BBFC will have any funds transferred back to them or, at their request, transferred to the CAA.

We are pleased to include a Q&A – please see below.

For more information, please contact or call 020 7440 0299.

Deregulation of Cinema Advertising – Q&A

Will the CAA be applying the BBFC’s age ratings to advertisements?

No, the CAA will continue to apply the terms of the CAP Code to advertisements. Where a public information / campaigning film has additionally been classified by the BBFC, that film will receive a BBFC age rating and should display the BBFC’s age rating on screen in cinemas.

I have a public information / campaigning film that I would like to show in cinemas. To whom do I send it?

Please submit it to both the BBFC and the CAA. The BBFC will consider it for classification under its Guidelines and the CAA will consider it for classification in line with the CAP Code.

How do I submit a public information / campaigning film to the BBFC?

Please submit it in exactly the same way you are used to submitting cinema advertisements to the BBFC. The only difference will be that, rather than an “advertisement” submission form, there will be a “public information / campaigning film” submission form on the BBFC extranet that you should fill in to get the process under way.

What do I do if I am unsure if my film is an advertisement or a public information / campaigning film?

Please contact the BBFC Helpline ( / 02074400299) and we will be happy to advise you.

Does an advertisement for public sector information / awareness count as a public service film (e.g. police federation advertisements, drink / drive advertisements)?

Yes. You should therefore submit it to the BBFC and the CAA.

How will advertisements for schools or higher education be categorised?

These will be categorised as advertisements, and so classified by the CAA only.

How will charity campaigns be categorised (e.g. the RNLI, Guide Dogs For The Blind)?

These will be categorised as public campaigning films, and so classified by the BBFC. You should therefore submit it to the BBFC and the CAA.

Will the likes of public service and charity campaigns require the use of the BBFC symbol in the bottom corner of the screen?

Yes, as the BBFC will still classify such works.

If my advertisement has only been assessed and classified by the CAA, does this mean that when it goes out in cinemas there won’t be an age rating displayed on screen for it?

Yes. The CAA will, as they do now, have issued you a confirmation of the age suitability of your advert, so that you can place it within the programme of a suitable corresponding film.

Do advertisements for video games still have to adhere to BBFC rules regarding PEGI logos?

No, because as the BBFC will not be classifying these advertisements any longer, there will be no risk that the cinema audience will mistake the rating of the game for the rating of the advertisement.