Skip to main content
Outage

PORTAL OUTAGE: Due to critical maintenance, the Classification portal will be unavailable from 4pm – 7pm AEST, Friday 31 May 2024.

Cookie notification

This website uses cookies, utilised by us and third parties to enhance your experience. Learn more via our Privacy page.

Deeming classifications

Films and TV series classified under broadcast legislation can retain the broadcaster’s decision under the Classification Act.

What is deeming?

The classify once principle extends to films and TV series classified under the following legislation:

  • Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA)
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 (ABC Act)
  • Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 (SBS Act).

Under section 6HA of the Classification Act, a post-classification publisher can use the broadcaster’s classification decision on a film or TV series published in a non-broadcast format. This applies to films and TV series broadcast in Australia on any date.

A post-classification publisher (publisher) is the person or entity that intends to publish a film or TV series classified for broadcast in a non-broadcast format. The publisher could be:

  • a licensed entity under the BSA (i.e. Channel 7, Channel 9, Channel 10 or Foxtel)
  • the ABC Act or the SBS Act, or
  • another person, platform or service who has publishing rights.

Non-broadcast formats include:

  • public exhibition (e.g. cinema release, film festivals)
  • online (e.g. catch up, streaming and transactional services)
  • home entertainment (e.g. DVD, 4K UHD and Blu ray).

When to use the broadcaster’s decision

You can use the broadcaster’s decision if the film or TV series:

  • has an R 18+ rating or lower
  • has not been classified under the Classification Act, and
  • has not been modified post-classification.

If the film or TV series has been classified under the Classification Act, use the decision on the National Classification Database (NCD). You can search the NCD using the search bar at the top of this page.

If the broadcaster has classified the film or TV series more than once, use the most recent classification.

How to use the broadcaster’s decision

If you are publishing a film or TV series that has been classified under the BSA, ABC Act or SBS Act, the process for using the decision depends on the type of publisher you are.

Licenced entities under the BSA, the ABC Act and the SBS Act

Licenced entities under the BSA, the ABC Act and the SBS Act can make their content available online for viewing at any time on their catch-up service.

These publishers can automatically apply the broadcast decision under the Classification Act.

They do not need to notify us, and these decisions are not published on the National Classification Database (NCD). This is because the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) already regulates decisions made under the BSA, the ABC Act and the SBS Act.

Other publishers

Other publishers must submit a Notice of Classification (notice) via the Classification Portal to use the broadcaster’s decision.

To use the notice:

  • the version you are publishing must be identical to the original version, unless any modifications are exempt from classification
  • the broadcaster must have already classified the film or TV series
  • you must use the most recent decision if there is more than one.

The decision takes effect under the Classification Act when you submit the notice. The decision applies to that version of the film across all formats.

These decisions are published on the NCD. This is because these decisions are taken to be decisions of the Classification Board under the Classification Act, and they are reviewable by the Classification Review Board.

How to submit a notice

You will not need to submit a notice for each episode. One notice can apply to a whole series, a season, or batches of episodes as they are released (e.g. episodes 1 – 5, 6 – 10 etc). You can apply the rating and consumer advice for the highest rated episode to all episodes.

If the broadcaster did not use consumer advice, you must leave this field blank.

Contact us if you have any questions about submitting a notice.

When to seek classification

As the publisher, you must not use the broadcast decision if:

  • the film or TV series is modified
  • you are not aware of the rating, or
  • you want to use a rating and/or consumer advice that the broadcaster did not use.

Under section 6HB of the Classification Act, you may choose not to use the broadcaster’s decision if you think that the decision does not reflect the National Classification Scheme or Australian community standards.

In these instances, you must classify the film or TV series using one of these classification methods: