Dual Rating allows submitting companies to benefit from faster, easier and cheaper access to VoD and Packaged Media classifications for feature films – where the same version was BBFC-classified for Cinema release within the previous six months.
The BBFC will not view films it accepts under the Dual Rating service. Instead, the submitting company will self-declare during submission that the version of the film they are submitting and releasing for Home Entertainment is the same as the version already classified for Cinema release.
You should therefore only submit content for classification via the Dual Rating service if you are able to confirm that the version you are releasing is the same version that the BBFC-classified for Cinema release.
Please contact the Helpline and request to be added as a Dual Rating submitting company. You will then need to read and agree to the General Terms Of Service & Eligibility Criteria (you can preview these below). Once received, your request will be reviewed and your ability to submit Dual Rating on your Horizon company account will be activated.
All requests to access Dual Rating services are reviewed to determine eligibility based on a number of factors, including submission history with the BBFC and previous releases. We reserve the right to refuse access to this service if you are unable to meet the eligibility criteria.
To submit for Dual Rating you will need the BBFC Registration number for the Cinema version. There is no restriction on submitting if the Cinema version was submitted by another company; they will need to provide you with the BBFC Registration number to make the submission.
If the original Cinema submission was cut for classification, was released in a different/fuller ratio, or there have been changes to the images or audio, this content should not be submitted for classification via the Dual Rating service.
We permit changes to the company/studio logos at the beginning and end of the feature, as long as the logos cannot themselves be considered contentious. Lesser aspect ratios (where less of the image is visible) are also permitted. We anticipate that runtimes will be different between the Cinema and Home Entertainment release as these normally have different frame rates. Please see the full Eligibility Criteria below.
On the submission form select Home Entertainment for your Service category, then the Release format (Packaged Media or VoD). For the Submission type select Generate rating from cinema. Complete the submission form as usual.
We will research the submission and determine its eligibility for Dual Rating. If we find it is eligible this will be processed.
The Video Recordings Act 1984 requires us to retain a copy of the classified content in our archive therefore we cannot issue a Packaged Media classification under Dual Rating until the archivable content is delivered via the established process.
For VoD submissions, we can provide a Dual Rating classification without the content being delivered. Please contact the Helpline about making the submission without providing the content.
If we find the content is not eligible for Dual Rating at the point of submission, we will contact you so you can decide if you would like to make a new submission or to withdraw from the classification process.
A standard Packaged Media Dual Rating covers both physical media and VoD release.
Customers requiring a Packaged Media classification for content with an existing VoD Dual Rating classification will have the original Dual Rating fees deducted from the costs of the new classification.
Please note: Content must be held in the BBFC archive to issue a Packaged Media classification.
The Packaged Media Dual Ratings can only be issued if the submission is made within six months of original the Cinema classification date.
Post-classification, we will choose submissions at random for audit. This allows us to check that the content submitted for Dual Rating is the same as the classified Cinema release.
For VoD submissions, where the content is not supplied, submitting companies may be asked to provide a copy of the content for audit, or to cover reasonable BBFC costs to obtain a copy for auditing.
If a BBFC audit determines the version released on Packaged Media, and/or VoD, is not the same as the version classified for theatrical release and submitted for a Dual Rating classification, we may withdraw the classification, and request that the content is withdrawn from sale (with costs covered by the submitting party). If a Packaged Media release differs from the BBFC-classified version, the release will be in breach of the Video Recordings Act 1984 and must be withdrawn from supply.
If content was found to be incorrectly submitted under the Dual Rating service, you will be asked to submit content for a full classification, with standard BBFC fees due.
In addition to adhering to the BBFC’s standard Terms & Conditions, companies submitting content via the Dual Rating service also agree to the following:
It is the submitting company’s responsibility to ensure that the content being submitted is the same as the version BBFC-classified for cinema release.
The submitting company will ensure that content submitted under Dual Rating meets the BBFC’s Dual Rating Eligibility Criteria.
Same Day turnaround services are not available for Dual Rating – this ensures that we can fully assess the content against the Dual Rating Eligibility Criteria.
It is also the submitting company's responsibility to ensure that the version released on Packaged Media matches the version submitted under Dual Rating and delivered to the BBFC VRA archive.
The BBFC will only issue the VRA certificate once the submitting company has delivered an archivable copy (as per the current VRA archive file delivery processes) of the version for release and the BBFC has ensured that the content is archivable and has logged the runtime.
The submitting company will provide reasonable assistance with any auditing the BBFC chooses to undertake to ensure compliance with the DR General Terms of Service and Eligibility Criteria.
The BBFC audit from the VRA archive file supplied during submission.
The submitting company will supply a link or media file upon request.
The BBFC reserves the right to alter an age rating against the cinema decision if new issues come to light during the home entertainment audit.
If the submitting company discovers that the version they have released is not the same as the version they submitted to the BBFC under the service, the submitting company must inform the BBFC immediately.
Should the content submitted under Dual Rating be found to differ from either the content viewed and classified for cinema release or the version subsequently released on Packaged Media or on VoD, or should the BBFC decide the original cinema age rating and content advice are not suitable for the home entertainment release, the BBFC may take any or all of the following steps as it may in its discretion consider appropriate:
Revoke or revise the classification certificate given to the home entertainment content.
Withdraw the content/submission from Dual Rating and request a standard BBFC submission be made (additional classification fees may be due).
In the case of any VRA breach, and/or if it is discovered that the version submitted under Dual Rating has not previously been viewed or classified by the BBFC, the submitting company agrees to remove content from sale. This may include ensuring that Packaged Media content is withdrawn from sale, with all associated costs of doing so being the responsibility of the submitting company.
In submitting home entertainment content for Dual Rating, the submitting company assumes full responsibility for meeting these eligibility criteria:
The home entertainment version is a feature and is the same as the feature version we classified for cinema release, including the same audio.
We billed the cinema classification at the standard fee tariff at the time of issue and viewed it in full. (If all we did for the cinema submission was reissue a black card, the home entertainment version is ineligible.)
We did not require cuts either at the advice stage or during the formal cinema classification stage.
We classified the cinema version no more than six months before this Dual Rating submission. Submitting companies may request a Packaged Media classification under Dual Rating for content already VoD-rated under Dual Rating as long as the Packaged Media Dual Rating submission is itself within six months of the original cinema classification.
The Dual Rating submission must have a Requested Classification Date (RCD), or VRA archive media must be delivered to and accepted by us, no more than six months after the original cinema classification date.
We permit the following minor differences from the cinema version:
Non-contentious differences in opening company logos
Non-contentious differences less than one second in duration
A lesser aspect ratio than the classified cinema version
Runtime differences due to telecine speeds
For the purposes of clarity the following differences from the cinema version are not permitted under Dual Rating:
Re-edited, additional or abridged material
A fuller aspect ratio than the classified cinema version
Different audio (including but not limited to dialogue, music, sound effects, different voice cast, changes to strobing and/or flashing/flickering lights)
Changes to subtitles and/or captions
A black and white version of a previously colour film or vice versa, or recoloured/retinted imagery
Any other difference not listed above (excepting those that we specify permitting as above)
We may ask the submitting company to demonstrate practices to ensure that the content submitted for Dual Rating is the version we classified for cinema release. This could include:
a history of submitting content from the corresponding cinema submitting company
a contract to distribute their releases in the home entertainment market
a track record of submitting content that qualified for the “Video identical content of cinema feature” discount.
We will render ineligible for Dual Rating any submission found not to meet all the above Eligibility Criteria.
We can opt any submission/content out of Dual Rating if we decide the content needs a full viewing in order to provide an accurate home entertainment classification. This may include, but is not limited to, the following circumstances:
We are unable to establish an affiliation between the cinema submitting company and the home entertainment submitting company
The submitting home entertainment submitting company is found to have breached the General Terms of Service or Eligibility Criteria within the last 12 months
We have identified another reason that suggests the company should not be permitted to request a BBFC home entertainment classification for the content
- Whenever we publish new Classification Guidelines, we will suspend the six-month window for Dual Rating submissions. It will not be possible to seek a certificate under Dual Rating for home entertainment content where the corresponding cinema release was classified under previous guidelines. We will only permit home entertainment of cinema content we have classified from the date the new guidelines came into force to be eligible for Dual Rating. Once six months have elapsed from the date new guidelines came into force, the six-month eligibility period will resume.