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Report: Trust in BBFC age ratings grows

May 1, 2024

As the latest BBFC Classification Guidelines come into effect, the organisation has revealed trust and support for its work is stronger than ever.

Findings from the BBFC’s largest-ever public consultation – involving 12,000 people across the UK – show widespread trust and support for the BBFC, with recognition of its iconic age ratings at an all-time high.

In March, the BBFC published the results of its latest guidelines review which revealed that 97 per cent of people see a benefit to age ratings for some or all audiences, with 99 per cent recognising at least one BBFC age rating symbol and 78 per cent recognising them all.

With this recognition also comes trust: 85 per cent of respondents said they trust BBFC age ratings when making viewing decisions all or most of the time. This reaches 90 per cent among parents, a 7 per cent increase from our 2019 guidelines consultation. Similarly, 83 per cent of people surveyed said they agreed with BBFC ratings all or most of the time, with those numbers even higher among older teens (85 per cent), parents (87 per cent) and teachers (87 per cent).

In addition to this, the research found that over eight in ten (81 per cent) people want to see a consistent age rating system across cinema, physical media and streaming services such as Netflix, Prime Video and Apple TV+.

BBFC President, Natasha Kaplinsky OBE, commented: “Audiences are consuming more content than ever, in more ways than ever before. That’s why it’s imperative they can find trusted and familiar age ratings, wherever they’re watching, be that in the cinema or at home, on demand. I know that’s what I Iook for when watching with my family, and it’s our mission at the BBFC to protect children from potential harm when viewing content. That’s why it’s so encouraging to see our recognised age ratings on more than 30 VoD platforms, as we continue our work in this space. We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve done so far, but there’s much more work to do.”

BBFC Chief Executive, David Austin OBE, said: “The BBFC has been classifying content for over 110 years. Naturally, a lot has changed in this time. But what’s reassuring to know is just how many people continue to value our age ratings. The trust audiences have put in us to help them choose content for themselves and their families is a huge privilege, and with this renewed vote of confidence, it is one I’m sure we can enjoy as we look to the future.”

Phil Clapp, Chief Executive, UKCA, added: “BBFC film classifications are clearly an important indication as to the content of each film and, at a practical level, determine who our members can and cannot legally admit to each screening. It’s therefore vital that they have credibility with and are understood by the cinema-going audience. In that first respect, the recent Classification Guidelines consultation provides an important sense of changing public attitudes, and we look forward to continuing our work with the BBFC to communicate any resulting changes.”

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