Comparisons | British Board of Film Classification
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A Comparison is a compliance process whereby a new version of previously classified content is compared to our archive copies.

If the content is essentially the same, it can be classified as a Comparison without the need for viewing by our Compliance Officers. These submissions are charged a lower fee. Please see our fee tariffs.

Companies can request a Comparison booking by selecting this option when they submit content via our extranet. There are several services available:


A DVD/Blu-ray Comparison is conducted by our operations department. The two versions of the content are run side by side on two monitors. We record any edits and other differences in a technical report.

Distributor Change

Where the rights to distribute a work pass from one company to another, there is no requirement for the content to be reclassified. It can be difficult for distributors to be sure they have the same version that was previously classified. If the content is essentially the same then it can be recorded as a Distributor Change.

Technical Comparison

Distributors are occasionally unsure that they have the correct masters for duplication. Our Technical Comparison service allows content to be sent in for comparison against our archive copy to check whether it is the same as the classified version. If the content is essentially the same then it can be recorded as a Technical Comparison.

3D/2D Comparisons

Companies may have 2D versions of films passed at a comparison rate providing the following conditions are met.

  • The Stereoscopic 3D Blu-ray version must be classified first.
  • Any subsequent versions of the 2D feature may then be passed as 3D/2D comparisons (providing that they are the same edit/soundtrack etc) as they present less picture information than the Stereoscopic 3D version.

A note on aspect ratios

If a previously classified content is being released with a lesser picture ratio then there is no need to resubmit for classification.


Content-identical 2D versions of classified 3D (DCP or IMAX) works.

If you receive an age rating for a 3D DCP or 3D IMAX version of a theatrical film, trailer or advert then a content-identical 2D version can attain the same category and be processed at a reduced rate.

The reduced rate only applies if the 3D version is classified first. Should the 2D version be classified first, the 3D version will be viewed and charged at the standard tariff, as the enhanced visual experience has the potential to receive a more restrictive age rating.

If a DCP file containing both 3D and 2D versions is submitted at the same time, the 2D version will receive a further reduction.

Read our fee tariff.

Classifying 3D content first may cause 2D content to be over classified. To allow maximum flexibility, particularly in borderline cases (where the 2D content may be acceptable at a lower age rating than the 3D version) the option to classify the 2D content separately is available. In this case the standard tariff will apply.


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