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Netflix Becomes First Streaming Service to Use BBFC Classifications

Ross Kelly



Netflix users will begin to see new age rating symbols on the video streaming service from 31st October onwards.  

The move by the US streaming giant will make it the first to use newly-launched symbols created by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). 

The BBFC said the new symbols will provide a consistent scheme similar to what cinema-goers will see before a film. Additionally, the scheme will help young people across the UK to make “conscious decisions when it comes to film and content” hosted on video-on-demand streaming platforms, the organisation said. 


Netflix has traditionally used its own age-rating system for films and television programmes featured on the platform. Moving forward, however, BBFC ratings including U, PG, 12/12A, 15 or 18 will feature.

Commenting on the announcement, BBFC chief executive David Austin 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.

Young people are increasingly turning to streaming services, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, to watch television programmes or popular films. Research published by Ofcom in August this year highlighted the scale of the digital transition among people across the country.

Traditional television viewing has halved among 16 to 24-year-olds since 2010, Ofcom data suggested. Daily viewing of streaming services among all age groups also increased by seven minutes between 2018 and 2019, taking the total to 26 minutes. For online video streaming website, YouTube, numbers also continue to rise.

Research conducted by the BBFC, suggests that despite the increased use of streaming services, youngsters across the country are growing concerned over the content they are exposed to – and they want greater insights to help them choose.

More than half (56%) of teenagers are concerned about watching content without knowing what it contains and, as such, want clear age ratings to guide them.

The research shows that 95% of teens want “consistent age ratings” they recognise from the cinema or DVD to be applied to content accessed via streaming services.

Concerningly, 46% of teenagers say they have felt uncomfortable or anxious due to content they viewed on streaming services, while one-third have watched “something they’d rather avoid on a weekly basis”.

Austin added: “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.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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