‘Warning: may contain offensive material’

‘Warning: may contain offensive material’

The 9pm watershed has long been the bastion of parental control when viewing content: if it was on after the watershed, then it probably wasn’t suitable for younger viewers (or those with a nervous or squeamish disposition, or the easily offended).

In a converged world, however, content provision is no longer just the preserve of television. A range of suppliers now provides content over the Internet, and on mobile phones. Further, this content is often on-demand (as are new TV services), being viewable at all times of the day.

So, how to identify what is appropriate content to view? If it is no longer as simple as a watershed, information about the content needs to be provided to viewers so that they can make an informed choice. This is particularly important for protecting children from potentially harmful content.

This is why the BSG coordinated the production of Good Practice Principles for the provision of information about commercially created content. The work drew on all existing practices to bring together the underlying principles.

The launch of these principles this week showed the commitment of the industry to ensuring information about content is appropriately provided. Good content information will help consumers, particularly parents, make informed choices for themselves and their families.

The BSG will review the impact and effectiveness of the principles in 2009. For more information regarding the principles, see www.audiovisualcontent.org

Peter Shearman, Policy Manager, BSG