Today the BBFC published research into public attitudes toward online age rating labels for music videos. The research evaluates a government-backed pilot, launched in October 2014 by the UK recorded music industry, the BBFC and digital service providers Vevo and YouTube, to test how age ratings can be applied to music videos released online in the UK, so that family audiences can make more informed viewing decisions. The research shows:
- 70% of parents of under 12s are concerned about their children being exposed to inappropriate content in music videos
- up to 60% of children say they have seen content in online music videos of which their parents would disapprove
- 78% of parents value age ratings for online music videos
- given the choice, 86% of parents would encourage/ensure their children watch online channels with clear age ratings
- 75% of parents would like online channels to link music video age ratings to parental controls
The online music video age rating pilot saw the three major UK record companies (Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK) submit to the BBFC for age rating, any music videos for release online in the UK for which they would expect to be given at least a 12-rating (videos deemed not to contain content that would attract at least a 12 rating are not submitted*). On 18 August 2015, Government announced that the measures trialled will be made permanent for videos produced in the UK by artists who are represented by major labels. A new pilot for independent UK music labels to submit online music videos for classification is also underway.
David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC said: "The research shows parents perceive age ratings for online music videos to be almost as important as ratings for film and DVD/Blu-rays. Parents want more nuanced guidance about the content of the music videos their children are accessing online, with BBFC age rating symbols alongside BBFCinsight content advice being the preferred form of labelling.
"Parents would like to calibrate parental controls to filter out inappropriate music video content for their children and we look forward to working with the Digital Service Providers to incorporate these findings into the way age ratings and BBFCinsight is presented on their platforms. Non-UK label artists wanting to submit music videos for an age rating and further digital service providers wishing to display them are also welcome to help broaden the coverage of age ratings for online music video content in the UK."
The research showed the preferred format for displaying age ratings for online music videos to be the age rating plus BBFCinsight:
54% of adults selected this format as the most likely to be noticed and most helpful to see online, while 53% selected it as the easiest label to understand.
The BBFC issues either a 12, 15 or 18 rating to online music videos, in line with BBFC Classification Guidelines. The BBFC also includes bespoke content advice, called BBFC insight, which explains in more detail why an age rating has been given: for example, that scenes include sexual imagery, violence or other content deemed inappropriate for younger viewers. Once given an age rating, the labels pass on the rating and guidance when releasing their videos to the two digital service providers – Vevo and YouTube, who, in turn, display it when the videos are broadcast online.