U.K. uploads VOD ratings system

Disney, Warner, Fox join BBFC initiative

In what it claims is a world first, the British Board of Film Classification has launched an online certification program for films, TV shows and game downloads.

The initiative, for which Disney, Warner Bros. and Fox have already signed up, sees the BBFC’s familiar “black card” category symbols and consumer advice move to the Web to give parents more assurance that video-on-demand content is subject to the same classification criteria as cinema and retail.

BBFC director David Cooke said consumers “will be able to rely on our advice to decide which films or videogames are suitable for them and their children.”

U.K. Culture Minister Margaret Hodge said the BBFC certification would “provide welcome clarity for consumers, to help them gain greater confidence that their purchases are appropriate before they commit themselves. I hope to see more studios sign up.”

The program, known as BBFC.online, is voluntary, but BBFC officials expect all the main studios and online providers to join.

Some 700 titles have already been given online certificates, a figure likely to rise to 1,000 by the end of May.

Disney Home Entertainment topper Anthony Peet hailed the move as “a very positive step for the industry.”

“We believe it is important to ensure that content in the digital space is as clearly labeled and classified as that of a physical copy,” he said.

While the program covers videogame downloads, it excludes games and virtual worlds that are hosted online, such as “World of Warcraft” and “Second Life.”

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