Published: 16th July 2020

Online classifications increases 462% in five years, according to 2019 BBFC annual report

Today, the BBFC has released its annual report, which shows a steady growth in both online and film classifications throughout 2019. 

  • Both film and online BBFC classifications grow in the last year

  • 462% rise in classifications given to online content from just five years ago

  • 99% rise in film classifications in a decade

  • 15 the most popular age rating for both theatrical and online releases

In 2019, the BBFC rated 6,506 pieces of content for online distribution, which is a 13% increase from 2018. Compared to just five years ago, online classifications have increased by a staggering 462% (1,158 in 2014). 

The most popular age rating for online content is 15, with the BBFC rating 2,976 pieces of content with the classification. 

Although content for Video on Demand (VoD) platforms remains the majority of the content classified by the BBFC, film classification has also seen an increase of 6% in the last year, up to 1,103. This marks a 99% increase over the last decade (555 in 2009). 

The most popular age rating for film remains 15, with the BBFC rating 368 films for UK cinema goers with the classification.  

David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said: “It’s clear that online platforms continue to thrive in the current media climate, and that they are increasingly using well-understood and trusted BBFC age ratings.  Our mission is to help everybody choose content well, whenever, wherever, and however they view it, and people continue to tell us that they benefit from having age ratings and ratings in place, including online. 

“Over the last year we’ve continued to keep our finger on the pulse of what people really think, and we continue to make sure our age ratings are where people need them. Our innovative partnership with Netflix saw the streaming platform begin to rate its own content to produce BBFC ratings using a tagging system and algorithms that match the standards British families expect and want to see. We continue to look at new ways we can work with platforms to get families the information we know they need, and want.”

Every film classified by the BBFC comes with long ratings info, available on the BBFC website and free app, so families can choose content well.