Video-on-Demand Classifications Code
The objective of this Code is to require Members to classify their Video-on-Demand programmes (as defined) in a socially responsible way that enables parents to protect children from inappropriate content and make informed viewing choices for themselves and their families.
Classifications must be appropriately displayed at a point when viewing choices are being made.
The Code has been developed to achieve an appropriate balance between freedom of expression and choice, and ensuring that sufficient information is provided to allow viewers to make informed decisions about what they and their children watch.
The classifications and warning symbols have been prepared taking into account existing classifications for similar content on other platforms, both in New Zealand and overseas.The New Zealand Media Council (the Council) may approve the use of alternative classifications and warning symbols by Members provided that the Council has determined such classifications to be consistent with the objective of this Code.
Anyone who is unhappy with a Member’s classification of a VOD programme must complain to the Member in the first instance. If they are dissatisfied with the action taken by the Member, they may complain to the Council, which is an independent body responsible for considering complaints under this Code.Members are bound by the decisions of the Council.
A complaint about a breach of Privacy can be made to the Privacy Commissioner [live link]
Complaints about online news programmes or any other editorial content not covered by this Code over which the Council has jurisdiction can be made here [live link]
PART A - SCOPE AND DEFINITIONS
- For the purpose of this Code:
- Code means this Video-on-Demand Classifications Code.
- Classifications mean the classifications and symbols set out in Part B of this Code or an alternative set of classifications and symbols approved by the Council.
- Council means the New Zealand Media Council.
- Member means a member or affiliate member of the New Zealand Media Council who offers VOD services and are signatories to this Code.
- Video-on-Demand (VOD) programmes:
- Means a film or entertainment programme delivered to a viewer from a Member’s website when they select it from a Member VOD service;
- excludes sports programmes,
- excludes live or “as-live” programmes,
- excludes user generated content not under the editorial control of a Member,
- excludes news and current affairs programmes which are subject to the expectation of the Council’s Statement of Principles.
- VOD service means a service provided through the internet that offers viewers a curated selection of video programmes by subscription (SVOD), on a per-view or transactional basis (TVOD) or free of charge (FVOD). For the purposes of this Code, VOD service also includes film or entertainment linear content that is delivered solely online.
- VOD programmes classified according to this Code are not subject to the Council’s Statement of Principles.
- Content that is deemed objectionable is subject to the Films, Videos and Publications Classifications Act 1993.
- Time limits are as set out on the Council’s website [live link]
PART B – CLASSIFICATIONS
- Members must classify VOD programmes in accordance with the Code or an alternative set of classifications and visual warning symbols approved by the Council. See here [live link] for any alternative classifications and visual warning symbols approved by the Council.
- The classifications are:
G Approved for General viewing G programmes should exclude material likely to be unsuitable for children. Programmes may not necessarily be designed for child viewers but should not contain material likely to alarm or distress them. PG Parental Guidance recommended for young viewers PG programmes are more suited for mature audiences, but may be suitable for children subject to the guidance of a parent or other adult.Parents and caregivers are expected to monitor their child’s viewing of PG programmes. M Suitable for Mature audiences 16 years and over M programmes contain adult themes and are directed primarily at mature audiences. When considering whether to let a child see an M-rated programme it’s a good idea to find out what the film is about – and to always remember to check the descriptive note. 16 People under 16 years should not view 16 programmes contain stronger material or special elements which are outside the M classification. These programmes may contain a greater degree of sexual activity, potentially offensive language, realistic violence, sexual violence, or horrific encounters. 18 People under 18 years should not view 18 programmes contain themes which may be challenging or offensive even to some adult viewers
- Where programme content is likely to offend or disturb a significant number of the intended audience, additional visual warning symbols
must be displayed.These visual warning symbols are:
C Content may offend L Language may offend V Violence may offend S Sexual material may offend
- Where the VOD programme has already been rated or classified in New Zealand (either under the Code of Broadcasting Standards or by the Film and Video Labelling Body of New Zealand), the Member may apply the equivalent classification.
- Where the VOD programme has been rated or classified as being acceptable for viewers under 16 years in another country the Member may apply the equivalent classification ( G, PG or M under this Code). See here [live link] for a list of accepted overseas classifications.
- The classification assessment under this Code should be carried out by trained staff.
PART C – DISPLAY OF CLASSIFICATIONS AND INFORMATION
- The classification must be clearly displayed with the VOD programme listing information on Members’ VOD websites.
- Members must provide information for viewers about the meaning of the classifications and visual warning symbols.This information must be easily accessible to consumers accessing VOD programmes.
- Members are encouraged to consider measures to restrict child viewers from viewing adult material.
PART D – REMEDIES
- The powers of the Council are set out in the New Zealand Media Council’s Rules [live link here]. In summary:
- Members must comply with any direction from the Council to reclassify any VOD programme.
- Where content is reclassified, Members must take all reasonable steps to have the content reclassified on any third party sites that they control where they are aware the content has been published.
- If the Council upholds a complaint, the Council shall publish the decision on its website.
- In egregious circumstances, with a unanimous decision, the Council may censure a Member to the extent permitted under the Council’s rules and procedures.
Where the Council directs a VOD programme to be reclassified, any other Member publishing the same content must also comply with the decision when they receive notification from the Council or otherwise become aware of it.
Video-on-Demand Committee Members
Chair: Sir John Hansen, chair of NZ Media Council
Nina East, 38, returned to New Zealand in late 2014 after a 14 year career in London with music and entertainment television network MTV and multi-channel media brand Viacom. She became senior on-air manager at MTV International Creative and later, Creative Director at Be Viacom.
In New Zealand, Nina has shared her time between two creative director roles at Copper Brand Experiences and J. Walter Thomson NZ. Living in Auckland with her husband and two small boys, Nina lists art, music, travel and reading as her out-of-work interests. Her education included study at Victoria University’s School of Architecture & Design.
Sean Lyons is responsible for the development of technology and strategic partnerships at the online safety organisation Netsafe. Founded as the Internet Safety Group 20 years ago to help New Zealand internet users stay safe, the body was rebranded Netsafe in 2008.
Sean comes from a background in the IT industry and the education sector having spent part of his career as a classroom teacher and school leader. He has significant knowledge about online challenges and is responsible for Netsafe’s programme to combat child sexual exploitation material.
Andrea Fasching has worked in broadcasting her entire career. Starting at TV3 as a programme appraiser, certifying programming, she then worked for eight years as a broadcast standard manager. She was a member of TVWorks’ standards committee as well as appraising and certifying programmes.
In her current role at TVNZ, Andrea is Broadcasting Standards Manager and a member of the TVNZ complaints committee She has been a media member of the Advertising Standards Authority Complaints Board (ASCB) since 2015 and was a TVNZ representative on the board of Online Media Standards Authority (OMSA) until its amalgamation with the Press Council in 2017. She loves film, reading and, of course, TV. She has an MA (Honours in English) from Auckland University.
In his current role as Media Operations Manager for Lightbox, Andrew Martin oversees the content supply chain, including the application of classifications and standards to online programming.
He is a seasoned broadcasting professional. With a BA in Broadcasting from Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, his experience ranges from studio operations to satellite and fibre co-ordination for international sporting and news events, both in New Zealand and abroad.
Andrew previously worked at TVNZ for over 12 years in a variety of roles starting as presentation director on TVOne before moving on to master the technical steps required to get high quality television shows into millions of New Zealand households.