Changes to free-to-air TV ratings

Posted Wednesday 29 Apr 2020

You may soon spot a few changes to classification labels and programme information on your free-to-air TV screens. How and when we watch television has evolved and the Broadcasting Standards Authority and broadcasters are acting to keep up with the times.
From 1 May 2020 the decades-old G, PGR and AO labels on free-to-air (FTA) television are retiring and will be replaced by the more detailed G, PG, M, 16 and 18 labels.
Also from 1 May 2020, programmes classified G and PG can be played at any time - so read the programme synopsis and check the programme is suitable for your child. From 1 May 2020, the new 'M' classification can play from 7.30pm any day, and between 9am and 3pm on weekdays (but not during the weekends and school or public holidays). The 8.30pm watershed will remain, with no shows rated 16 and over allowed before then. Programmes rated 18 and over can only be aired after 9.30pm.
When these changes take effect, broadcasters will give more on-air warnings for certain programmes, telling you what to expect before and during the broadcasts. They will also use advisory symbols indicating the type of content you might see: L - Coarse Language, S - Sexual Material, C - Content may offend, V - Violence. The BSA and broadcasters encourage parents and caregivers to use television parental locks, which are available on free-to-air TV, to help manage what children can and cannot watch.
This shift comes after extensive community research and public consultation by the BSA. More information about the changes, and a video by How to DAD's Jordan Watson explaining them, can be found at the new website. You can also email or call 0800 366 996.