What Do The Maturity Ratings Mean on Netflix UK?

Near the end of 2017 The Telegraph reported that Netflix were rating explicit films and TV series’ as a ‘G’ which they claimed meant ‘for general audiences’ or, in other words, safe for everyone to watch. Although this article was incorrect because a ‘G’ on Netflix UK actually meant ‘guidance’ as opposed to being the American MPAA rating of ‘G’ which means ‘general audiences’.

While we frequently explained that the ‘G’ means guidance (see FAQ 8), which Netflix say means age 12 and over, it’s not always that useful. Some clearly adult-themed shows were rated G and some children’s shows were rated as G. It was essentially used as a cop-out of: “there isn’t a BBFC rating for this so we’ll just give it a G”.

The good news relating to this is that Netflix have since updated their use of ‘G’ to make it easier for consumers to understand. Where there is no BBFC rating they now show a rough description of suitability as follows:

ALL: which is equivalent to U – Universal, suitable for all
GUIDANCE: which is equivalent to PG – Parental Guidance
TEEN: which is equivalent to 12 – Over 12
MATURE: which is equivalent to 15 – Over 15
ADULT: which is equivalent to 18 – Over 18

These ratings still sit alongside the traditional BBFC ratings of ‘U’, ‘PG’, ’12’, ’15’ and ‘18’ where available. The new ratings are also shown on the New On Netflix UK website and social media feeds.

About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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18 thoughts on “What Do The Maturity Ratings Mean on Netflix UK?

  1. This doesn’t really make sense, as the BBFC ratings cover all age groupings. I guess this is just Netflix being a little more granular than the BBFC? Still, it doesn’t really make sense saying “there isn’t a BBFC rating for this so we’ll just give it a G”.

    1. I’m not following you… Sorry.

      There aren’t BBFC ratings for everything – they’re only required for anything released in the cinema or on DVD/Blu-ray. Streaming companies can voluntarily get ratings for online-only films/tv but that side isn’t a legal requirement.

      There are loads of shows and films on Netflix UK that have never had a UK cinematic release nor a home-video release so therefore they don’t have a BBFC rating. Netflix, in those instances, just gave it a rating of ‘G’ which wasn’t very helpful. Now they are giving the non-BBFC-rated titles a useful, descriptive rating other than the catch-all ‘G’.

    2. Things is Mark, some of the foreign films would not been seen by BBFC or their American equivalent so Netflix would put “Guidance” on them in order to let account holders watch for themselves and decide whether or not to share with the family.

    1. As per the article, not everything has a BBFC rating. Streaming media doesn’t legally need to be assessed by the BBFC. A lot of the shows on Netflix have never had a UK theatrical or home release so haven’t got a BBFC rating.

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