Published: 1st September 2021

Statement on the Government’s VOD consultation

The BBFC welcomes the Government’s Video on Demand consultation and we expect that responses to the consultation will demonstrate the level of public and stakeholder support for content to be properly labelled to help families choose what’s right for them and to protect children. BBFC research has shown that parents (91%) and teens (95%) want to see the BBFC age ratings they know from cinema and DVD applied consistently on VOD platforms, and that where they are available they find them helpful.

This labelling is all the more important with some films available to stream at the same time they are released in cinemas, as having one rating offline and another online is a recipe for confusion and risks children being exposed to inappropriate content.

David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said: “With VOD bringing more choice and more control over what we watch at home, parents need the trusted guidance the BBFC provides more than ever in order to make safe and informed viewing decisions for their families. As well as our age ratings, we offer bespoke content advice, our ratings info, so that people can choose well. 

“UK parents want BBFC ratings and ratings info on content because our standards reflect UK sensitivities on issues such as sexual violence and discrimination. Ministers have repeatedly urged streaming services to carry BBFC ratings, and have praised our innovative partnership with Netflix that has enabled the platform to carry BBFC age ratings and ratings info on 100% of its film and TV content. But it goes far beyond age ratings and ratings info – we also identify any content that might be breaking UK laws, which means that families can rest assured that their children won’t stumble across anything illegal. We currently work with 25 VOD and streaming platforms in the UK and we look forward to continuing these successful partnerships. We will support this consultation process and continue to work towards more consistent voluntary application of BBFC age ratings and ratings info online.”