Published: 1st December 2015

UK parents want the same age ratings for VOD films as cinema films

Research shows 85% of parents consider it important to have consistent classification on and offline.

Research conducted on behalf of the BBFC shows UK parents want to see the same classification information provided for films at the cinema and on DVD/Blu-ray, applied to film and video content available on VOD services. At present 55% of parents say the ease of checking age ratings on film or video downloads is variable.

The research involved parents, adults over 18, and children, from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and builds on similar research carried out in 2011 to measure attitudes toward the classification of streamed/downloaded videos.

Inconsistent age labelling methods across different online services, may explain why viewers do not always find it easy to check age ratings online. VOD content labelled with BBFC age rating symbols was noticed and correctly recalled by 7 out of 10 viewers, whereas only 9% noticed plain numeric or text age rating labels. The research also showed prominent display of identifiable and trusted age ratings next to film titles on VOD, and before the prompt to buy, stream or download content, is the most helpful form of labelling.

David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC said: "Parents with children who watch VOD content continue to expect to find BBFC age ratings online. 85% of parents say it is important to have consistent classification on and offline and this figure rises to 91% among parents whose youngest child is under 10 years old. Although improvements could be made to increase the number of platforms using BBFC age rating symbols it is encouraging to see 78% of adults find BBFCinsight information useful with our free BBFC app having greatest appeal as a source for classification information."

Online classification checking is now approaching the level of checking undertaken by parents for cinema films with 81% checking age ratings for VOD content. Further research into age ratings for music videos online published in September (2015) shows 78% of parents also value age ratings for online music videos.