Classification overhaul to allow M-rated content from 7:30pm


Broadcasters will soon be allowed to screen M rated content from 7:30pm and MA rated content from 8:30pm in sweeping classification changes.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority today approved key changes proposed by Free TV earlier in the year, which are set to take effect on the 1st December this year.

Key changes in the move include:

  • PG rated content allowed all day, M rated content from 7:30pm, and MA rated content from 8:30pm.
  • No alcohol advertisements in the evening before 8.30 pm (unless as an accompaniment to a sports program on a weekend or public holiday)
  • A ban on gambling advertisements in any program classified G, C or P between 6.00 am and 8.30 am and between 4.00 pm and 7.00 pm (as well as during any program broadcast between 5.00 am and 8.30 pm which is principally directed to children)
  • Prominent and legible consumer advice at the start of all films classified PG or above, all programs classified M which commence between 7.30 pm and 8.30 pm and any program classified MA15+
  • Clear display of classification symbols at the start of and after breaks in programs, as well as in program promotions
  • A requirement that all advertising and program promotions broadcast between 7.30 and 8.30 pm during a sports program or programs classified G or PG be classified no higher than PG
  • A ban between 5.00 am and 8.30 pm on the promotion of a program classified M or MA15+ during any G classified program, which is principally directed to children (except for ‘up next’ pointers to the following program).

“The code now reflects the contemporary media environment, is expressed in a user-friendly and simpler form and, importantly, contains a package of community safeguards appropriate in this new environment,” said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

“Since the previous code was registered in late 2009, there have been tremendous shifts in the media landscape.

“Many of the provisions in the earlier code had been around for twenty years or so—from an analogue era where viewers could only source content from three commercial free-to-air channels and two national broadcasting channels.”

Free TV will be conducting a 12-month education campaign to inform viewers of changes to the code and methods of managing viewing by them and their children (accompanied by information on the Free TV website).

Viewers are also encouraged to take advantage of the wide availability of the parental lock facility on the overwhelming majority of digital televisions and set-top devices.

What are your thoughts on the new changes that are set to brought in? Is it dangerous to children or will it allow more premium content to viewers earlier in the evening? Let me know your thoughts below…