March 14, 2019
Netflix has partnered with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and the Video Standards Council Rating Board to help alleviate parental concerns regarding inappropriate content available on subscription streaming video platforms.
The groups — with assistance from the British government’s department for digital, culture, media and sport – have devised “best practices guidelines” to help streaming services apply age-appropriate ratings for streamed content.
The move comes after internal research found 80% of parents are worried about content available online. Specifically, parents want the same ratings that are applied to theatrical movies, video games, DVD and Blu-ray Disc movies applied to online content.
“Our research clearly shows a desire from the public to see the same trusted ratings they expect at the cinema, on DVD and on Blu-ray when they choose to watch material online,” David Austin, CEO of the BBFC, said in a statement. “We know that it’s not just parents who want age ratings, teenagers want them too. We want to work with the industry to ensure that families are able to make the right decisions for them when watching content online.”
Specifically, the BBFC and Netflix are collaborating on a year-long self-ratings pilot, which will see the SVOD giant move towards in-house classification using BBFC age ratings, under license.
Netflix, which has nearly 10 million subscribers in the U.K., will use an algorithm to apply BBFC standards to its own content, with the BBFC setting those standards and auditing ratings to ensure consistency. The goal is to work towards full coverage of BBFC age ratings across the platform.
“The BBFC is a trusted resource in the U.K. for providing classification information to parents and consumers and we are excited to expand our partnership with them,” said Mike Hastings, director of editorial creative at Netflix. “Our work with the BBFC allows us to ensure our members always press play on content that is right for them and their families.”
Netflix, like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, currently offers separate streaming access for kids featuring age-appropriate content.
BBFC’s Austin said the partnership with Netflix would help in the group’s goal to offer age-ratings across all content available in the U.K.
“We hope that others will follow Netflix’s lead and provide comprehensive, trusted, well-understood age ratings and ratings info, consistent with film and DVD, on their U.K. platforms,” he said. “The partnership shows how the industry [is] working with us to find new and innovative ways to deliver 100% age ratings for families.”