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BBFC, Prime Video age ratings agreement

March 7, 2023

By Colin Mann

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has signed an agreement to enable Prime Video to build on its existing Trust & Safety tools, in order to move towards the in-house production of BBFC age ratings that are in line with the BBFC’s Classification Guidelines. This marks an important next step in the BBFC’s long-standing content classification relationship with Prime Video, which aims to provide families across the UK with the information they need to make safe viewing decisions.

Through enhanced dialogue and processes, the BBFC will support Prime Video as they adapt their rating methodologies in the UK to fully reflect the BBFC’s classification standards. This will extend the presence of the BBFC’s trusted guidance on the streaming service in the UK. As part of the agreement, the BBFC will share additional expertise and insight into the standards they apply when classifying film, video and TV content.

The BBFC’s classification standards are underpinned by a transparent set of published guidelines, which are the result of wide-scale consultations with over 10,000 people across the UK, extensive research, and more than 100 years of experience. The BBFC also works closely with young people, child psychologists and charities so as to ensure that standards continue to reflect the views and expectations of parents and families across the UK. The guidelines are updated every four to five years and the BBFC will consult on its guidelines during 2023, with any changes required by the research coming into force in early 2024.

The announcement comes as recent BBFC research, conducted by We Are Family, reveals that nine in ten (90 per cent) parents/caregivers of four-to 15-year-olds and eight in ten (80 per cent) teenagers aged 16-19 consider age ratings and content advice to be of equal importance on streaming services as they are for films in the cinema. More generally, the research shows a high demand for both age ratings and content advice on streaming services, particularly amongst parents and caregivers. Young people also see the value of such guidance: over half (51 per cent) of teens aged 16-19 check content advice before choosing what to watch, and nearly nine in ten (89 per cent) said that they pay more attention to content advice if choosing for a person younger than them, such as siblings or other family members.

“We are thrilled to announce our strengthened relationship with Prime Video in the UK, which will help to increase the coverage of our BBFC age ratings on the service.” declared Natasha Kaplinsky OBE, President of the BBFC. “This news follows our recent research showing considerable demand for the consistent application of trusted BBFC age ratings and content advice on streaming services. I’m sure a lot of parents will be reassured that a leading streaming service, such as Prime Video, is taking this positive next step to give them the information they need to make safe and informed viewing decisions for their families. We are very much looking forward to this enhanced working relationship with Prime Video.”

“I am very pleased to be taking this important step in our relationship with Prime Video, which is in line with the Government’s recent encouragement for streaming services to consider adopting BBFC age ratings on a best practice basis,” added David Austin OBE, Chief Executive of the BBFC. “With families watching more content across a greater range of services than ever before, demand has never been higher for age ratings and content advice that reflect audiences’ values and expectations.”

“At Prime Video, we start with our customers and work backwards,” explained Chris Bird, Managing Director of Prime Video UK. “BBFC ratings are recognised and trusted across the UK, and we are delighted to be deepening our long-standing relationship with the BBFC to ensure our UK customers can continue to make the right viewing decisions for their families.”

“I am delighted to see this partnership between Prime Video and BBFC,” commented Julia Lopez, Creative Industries Minister. “The BBFC’s well-recognised age ratings and content advice continue to be of huge value to audiences, helping parents and families across the UK make informed decisions about the content they watch.”

Currently, the BBFC works with 29 VoD/streaming services in the UK to provide age ratings for content on a voluntary best practice basis. Amongst others, these providers include Apple TV+, Curzon Home Cinema, Lionsgate+, Rakuten TV, Sky Store, and YouTube Movies.


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