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Video on Demand

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 135926, tabled on 11 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to encourage the adoption of BBFC age ratings on online video streaming platforms.

Answered on

15 January 2021

It is vital that children are protected from accessing age-inappropriate, harmful content online. We have now published the Full Government Response to the Online Harms White Paper consultation, which sets out how the proposed legal duty of care on online companies will work in practice and gives them new responsibilities towards their users. The strongest protections in our online harms proposals are for children. All companies in scope will be required to assess whether children are likely to access their services, and if so, provide additional protections for children using them. Companies will need to take steps to protect children from harmful content and activity on their service. We will set out in secondary legislation the priority harms that this regulation will tackle, in consultation with Ofcom. Ofcom will then set out in Codes of Practice the steps companies can take to protect children from harm on their services.

Ahead of Online Harms legislation, Regulations transposing the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive came into force on 1 November 2020 which require UK-established video sharing platforms to take appropriate measures to protect minors from harmful content and all users from illegal content. The Regulations require that the most harmful content is subject to the strongest protections, such as age assurance or more technical measures. Ofcom, as the regulatory authority, may take robust enforcement action against video sharing platforms which do not adopt measures to adequately protect their users.

Over the past year we have been working with the BBFC and industry to drive the voluntary adoption of the BBFC’s age rating symbols to Video On Demand platforms. Doing so will provide consumers with well recognised age ratings and consumer advice.