Archive for the ‘BBFC’ Category

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symbols october 2019 300 Don’t call us boring: ‘Generation Conscious’ want to make better decisions than ever before

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is launching new age rating symbols which, for the first time, are designed for digital streaming platforms – a move which will give young people better and consistent guidance about film and TV content, enabling them to make conscious decisions about what they watch.

New research from the BBFC reveals, given their access to more media, nine in 10 (87%) 12-19 year olds want to make better decisions than ever before. Two thirds (66%) of young people resent the idea of being perceived as ‘boring’ or ‘sensible’ – something three quarters (74%) of adults admit to having thought.

Instead, almost all teens (97%) want more credit for being conscious decision makers, making informed and positive choices throughout all aspects of their life. The BBFC’s own research showed 95% of teenagers want consistent age ratings that they recognise from the cinema and DVD to apply to content accessed through streaming services.

A majority (56%) of teens are concerned about watching content without knowing what it contains – and say they want clear age ratings to guide them. A third of teens (32%) say they see content they’d rather avoid on a weekly basis, leaving them feeling uncomfortable or anxious (46%), and one in twenty (5%) saying it had a negative impact on their mental health.

The BBFC’s new digital classification symbols, launching on Thursday 31 October, will help young people to make conscious decisions when it comes to film and content on video on demand platforms. Netflix has welcomed the new symbols, and will begin rolling them out on the platform starting from Thursday 31 October. This builds on the ongoing partnership between the BBFC and Netflix, which will see the streaming service classify content using BBFC guidelines, with the aim that 100% of content on the platform will carry a BBFC age rating.

David Austin, Chief Executive of the BBFC, said: “It’s inspiring to see young people determined to make conscious and thoughtful decisions. We want all young people to be empowered and confident in their film and TV choices. As the landscape of viewing content changes, so do we. We’re proud to be launching digital symbols for a digital audience, to help them choose content well.”

The move empowers young people to confidently engage with TV and film content in the right way. Half (50%) of young people say having access to online content and the internet helps them have tough conversations or navigate tricky subjects, like mental health and sexuality, when talking to parents.

Jack, 12, from Peterborough said: “It’s difficult to choose what to watch online as there is so much choice out there. I like to think about things before I watch them. Sometimes my friends watch stuff I don’t think is appropriate or I might find scary or it just isn’t for me. I could definitely make better decisions and avoid uncomfortable situations if age ratings were more clearly signposted.”

The BBFC is calling for streaming services to clearly label content with age ratings – and has this month launched its first set of VOD User Guidelines , developed in conjunction with video on demand platforms. These user guidelines outline how streaming services can help people by offering clearer, more consistent and comprehensive use of trusted, well understood, BBFC age ratings to support ‘Generation Conscious’.

The BBFC commissioned Studio AKA to produce a short animation , showcasing the new age rating symbols, to help families help view what’s right for them. The film is currently being played nationwide in cinemas until Sunday 3 November.

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DCMS logoMore than £2m of taxpayers’ money was spent preparing for the age verification for porn censorship regime before the policy was dropped in early October, the government has revealed.

The bulk of the spending, £2.2m, was paid to the BBFC to do the detailed work on the policy from 2016 onwards. Before then, additional costs were borne by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, where civil servants were tasked with developing the proposals as part of their normal work.

Answering a written question fromthe shadow DCMS secretary, Tom Watson, Matt Warman for the government added: Building on that work, we are now establishing how the objectives of part three of the Digital Economy Act can be delivered through our online harms regime.

It is not just government funds that were wasted on the abortive scheme. Multiple private companies had developed systems that they were hoping to provide age verification services.

The bizarre thing was all this money was spent when the government knew that it wouldn’t even prevent determined viewers from getting access to porn. It was only was only considered as effective from blocking kids from stumbling on porn.

So all that expense, and all that potential danger for adults stupidly submitting to age verification, and all for what?

Well at least next time round the  government may consider that they should put a least a modicum of thought about people’s privacy.

It’s not ALL about the kids. Surely the government has a duty of care for adults too. We need a Government Harms bill requiring a duty of care for ALL citizens. Now that would be a first!

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nicky morgan Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, issued a written statement cancelling the government’s current plans to require age verification for porn. She wrote:

The government published the Online Harms White Paper in April this year. It proposed the establishment of a duty of care on companies to improve online safety, overseen by an independent regulator with strong enforcement powers to deal with non-compliance. Since the White Paper’s publication, the government’s proposals have continued to develop at pace. The government announced as part of the Queen’s Speech that we will publish draft legislation for pre-legislative scrutiny. It is important that our policy aims and our overall policy on protecting children from online harms are developed coherently in view of these developments with the aim of bringing forward the most comprehensive approach possible to protecting children.

The government has concluded that this objective of coherence will be best achieved through our wider online harms proposals and, as a consequence, will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography. The Digital Economy Act objectives will therefore be delivered through our proposed online harms regulatory regime. This course of action will give the regulator discretion on the most effective means for companies to meet their duty of care. As currently drafted, the Digital Economy Act does not cover social media platforms.

The government’s commitment to protecting children online is unwavering. Adult content is too easily accessed online and more needs to be done to protect children from harm. We want to deliver the most comprehensive approach to keeping children safe online and recognised in the Online Harms White Paper the role that technology can play in keeping all users, particularly children, safe. We are committed to the UK becoming a world-leader in the development of online safety technology and to ensure companies of all sizes have access to, and adopt, innovative solutions to improve the safety of their users. This includes age verification tools and we expect them to continue to play a key role in protecting children online.

The BBFC sounded a bit miffed about losing the internet censor gig. The BBFC posted on its website:

BBFC logo The introduction of age-verification on pornographic websites in the UK is a necessary and important child protection measure. The BBFC was designated as the Age-verification Regulator under the Digital Economy Act 2017 (DEA) in February 2018, and has since worked on the implementation of age-verification, developing a robust standard of age-verification designed to stop children from stumbling across or accessing pornography online. The BBFC had all systems in place to undertake the role of AV Regulator, to ensure that all commercial pornographic websites accessible from the UK would have age gates in place or face swift enforcement action.

The BBFC understands the Government’s decision, announced today, to implement age-verification as part of the broader online harms strategy. We will bring our expertise and work closely with government to ensure that the child protection goals of the DEA are achieved.

I don suppose we will ever hear the real reasons why the law was ditched, but I suspect that there were serious problems with it. The amount of time and effort put into this, and the serious ramifications for the BBFC and age verification companies that must now be facing hard times must surely make this cancelling a big decision.

It is my guess that a very troublesome issue for the authorities is how both age verification and website blocking would have encouraged a significant number of people to work around government surveillance of the internet. It is probably more important to keep tabs on terrorists and child abusers rather than to lose this capability for the sake of a kids stumbling on porn.

Although the news of the cancellation was reported today, Rowland Manthorpe, a reporter for Sky News suggested on Twitter that maybe the idea had already been shelved back in the summer. He tweeted:

When @AJMartinSky and I broke the news that the porn block was being delayed again, we reported that it was on hold indefinitely. It was. Then our story broke. Inside DCMS a sudden panic ensued. Quickly, they drafted a statement saying it was delayed for 6 months

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womens aid logo The campaign group Women’s Aid is working with the BBFC on a consultation with victims of domestic abuse about how scenes of domestic abuse are classified and the warnings we see before we watch scenes of domestic abuse.The BBFC will be working with a research company and Women’s Aid to set up focus groups in London and Manchester to discuss the issues raised by a variety of film and media content. Participants will be asked to view three or four feature films, in advance of attending the focus groups, and will then discuss those films as well as some supplementary clips.

The research will be conducted by an independent market research company called Goldstone Perl Research. The focus groups will take place in January.

BBFC reveals new rating symbols

Posted: 12 September, 2019 in BBFC, Uncategorized
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bbfc symbols 2020 New age rating symbols come into effect for theatrical and VOD services on 31 October 2019.For packaged media, introducing the new symbols requires changes to the relevant piece of secondary legislation, the Video Recordings Act (Labelling) Regulations 2012. It is expected that the necessary changes to legislation will be made in time for the new symbols to be used on packaged media starting from 6 April 2020.

Presumably the change is basically to simplify the background so that the symbols can display better on small screens. There is also two distinct colour changes:

  • The video 12 rating changes from red to orange to match the orange 12A symbol for theatrical releases.
  • The 15 certificate changes from red to pink. This matches the Irish theatrical !5A symbol, so perhaps there is some future unification there. Many films have a joint video distribution in the UK and Ireland but for the moment the IFCO video symbols are very different.
IFCO Theatrical symbols ifco 12 15A !FCO 18 cinema
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Red Sparrow DVD The BBFC reports on its complaints received in its annual report. And 2018 saw a bumper crop (relative to previous years. The BBFC wrote:

In 2018 we received 364 complaints covering 101 films and 67 complaints covering 24 trailers. The majority of these were from people who had attended the cinema or viewed films at home. However, we also received a number of complaints inspired by news reports, online blogs and organised campaigns.

The top films attracting complaints were:

Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow attracted 64 complaints. All correspondents felt that we should have classified the film at 18 instead of 15 because of elements of violence and sexual violence in the film.

Peter Rabbit

Fifty people contacted us about Peter Rabbit, a film featuring animated rabbits and based on the stories of Beatrix Potter. Four people complained about violence and upsetting scenes but the majority complained about a scene in which the rabbits pelt their adversary, an adult man, with fruit in order to defend themselves from his attack and provoke an allergic reaction. Complainants felt that this was unacceptable at PG because it might be emulated by children.

We received complaints about the allergic reaction before the film was released in the UK in response to press coverage that started in the US. We received no complaints about this scene after the film was released.

A Northern Soul

We classified the film 15 because of around 20 uses of strong language. While the language in the film is not used aggressively or sexually, our research suggests that a significant proportion of parents are concerned about the normalisation of such language in films. The language in A Northern Soul, is used casually in conversations, across a relatively short feature (75 minutes), with no particular justification.

Three people wrote to us complaining about the 15 rating for A Northern Soul feeling a 12A would be more appropriate. We received 45 postcards protesting the 15 rating; however, these had been created and handed out to cinema goers by the filmmakers at screenings and do not provide an accurate representation of broad public opinion.

Kaala

Kaala is a Tamil-language drama which we classified 12A. 43 people emailed us to complain about the film’s release. The complaints were not about the rating of the film itself but seemed to object to the actions of the film makers. They were all worded identically and were clearly part of an organised online campaign.

Show Dogs

A police Rottweiler goes undercover at a dog show. As part of the operation he is required to let the judges inspect his genitals in a manner that is not uncommon in dog shows. The character is reluctant but is encouraged to go to his happy place to get through the experience.

Thirty-one people wrote in to us echoing claims made in blogs that the scene might lower children’s resistance to predators who wish to inappropriately touch them.

However, the scene is comic, innocent and non-sexual in nature and occurs within the fantastical context of a film about anthropomorphised canines.

In a similar vein to Peter Rabbit the complaints regarding Show Dogs predominantly stopped once the film had been released in cinemas.

Love Simon trailer

We received 18 complaints about a PG-rated trailer for the film Love, Simon. The trailer covers teenage relationships and features some implied kissing and references to being in love. All complainants took issue with the discussion of sex and teenage relationships in the trailer but 11 took particular issue with the fact that the character is gay, believing the depiction of gay relationships to be inappropriate at the PG level.

Ready Player One

Ready Player One received ten complaints with correspondents focusing on infrequent strong language at 12A and some moments of horror.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom received six complaints, chiefly regarding very young children being brought to the 12A screenings.

Venom

Six people complained about Venom, which is rated 15. Complainants were disappointed they or their children would be unable to see the film.

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bbfc annual report 2018 BBFC releases Annual Report 2018

  • Over the past year, the BBFC has received a 65% rise in content for distribution online.

  • Video on demand (VoD) continues to receive more BBFC age ratings than any other format

  • Ratings given to Cinema have risen 62% since 2008.

  • Once again, 15 was the most common classification given for UK cinema goers

The BBFC has released its Annual Report for 2018 a year that showed another significant increase in age ratings given to online content.

Over the last year the BBFC gave 5,751 age ratings to online content. This represents a 65% over 2017’s figure.

Although output from Video on Demand (VoD) providers constituted the majority of content classified by the BBFC, theatrical films still featured strongly. Since 2008 age ratings given to cinema releases have risen 62% from 639 in 2017 to 1,036 in 2018.

15 remained the most common age rating, with 392 theatrical films receiving this classification.

David Austin, BBFC Chief Executive, said:

“In a fast evolving media landscape, the BBFC’s core mission continues to be to help families and young people choose films, videos and websites that are right for them. Whenever, wherever, and however they view them. In 2018 we carried out significant research – with more than 10,000 people to help us update our classification standards. This work ensures that our standards continue to stay in line with what people across the UK consider suitable, and we found that 97% of the public believe audiences benefit from having age ratings in place.

“In 2019 we will continue to make a significant contribution to the Government’s objective of making the UK the safest place for children to be online. We look forward to the introduction of Age-verification in July which will improve child protection from exposure to pornography online.”

In addition to providing the latest age rating information on our websites, social media accounts and free app, the BBFC in 2018 continued to provide resources for children, teachers and older learners including a regular podcast, a children’s website ( cbbfc.co.uk ), case studies, classroom resources and posters.

Every film classified by the BBFC comes with detailed ratings info to help people view what’s right for themselves and their family. Ratings info is available on bbfc.co.uk and the BBFC’s free apps for tablet and mobile devices.