Advanced Television

BBFC ratings for YouTube music videos

March 26, 2015

Music videos on YouTube and Vevo will now be presented with cinema-style age certificates. The age ratings are part of a government-backed pilot scheme, which aims to protect children from raunchy content.

It follows concerns over explicit videos by artists including Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke and Kasabian. Ratings will be decided by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), with all three major record labels taking part.

This is the second phase of the pilot, which began as a behind-the-scenes trial in October. Since then, record companies Sony, Universal and Warners have been submitting their videos to the BBFC for consideration. The initial phase found that roughly 20 per cent of all videos would receive a 12, 15 or 18 certificate.

Once given an age rating, record labels pass on the guidance to the two digital service providers – Vevo and YouTube – who, in turn, display it when the videos are streamed online.

At the moment, there is no rule on how the guidance should be displayed.
YouTube’s current format is to list the information in plain text under the video. However, guidance on how to impart the information may be imposed once the pilot ends.

Categories: Articles, Policy, Regulation