Networks unhappy over classification limits
Exclusive: Networks split movies in 2 as PG & M to work around an imbalance in classification.
EXCLUSIVE: Commercial networks are frustrated by an uneven playing field in TV classification and resorting to creative ways of sidestepping the rules.
On Saturday Nine screened 2006’s Casino Royale in two halves, with the first half from 7pm rated as PG and the second half from 8:30pm rated M.
7pm Casino Royale – Part One
RPT – HD – WS – 90 – 2006
PG – AV – Action Violence, S1 – Sexual References, L1 – Some Coarse Language
The British agent with a licence to kill, James Bond crashes onto your screens for his biggest adventure yet. This time he must defeat a weapons dealer in a high stakes game of poker, but things are never as they seem. Starring: Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, Eva Green
8:30pm Casino Royale – Part Two
RPT – HD – WS – 90 – 2006 –
M – AV – Action Violence
To comply with current rules, Nine ran credits at the end of the first half ending at a cliffhanger scene with with “To Be Continued.”
Nine has similarly split Lord of the Rings films on its multichannels into two halves.
Under the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice M-rated TV programs can screen from 7:30pm -but M rated movies are still restricted to an 8:30pm start.
Meanwhile M rated content can be screened on ABC and SBS from 7:30pm, including on the new SBS World Movies channel.
While commercial networks are competing with Pay TV and Streaming platforms sources have expressed frustration at an uneven playing field.
Nine’s Chief Classification Officer Richard Lyle tells TV Tonight, “Programming felt it was a way of finding a family friendly movie that we could show earlier that they could watch from 7 or 7:30pm rather than waiting until 8:30pm at night.”
Sources at another broadcaster concurred that the classification system needs changes.
“It is ridiculous the distinction between TV and movies,” they said.
“A lot of TV’s have parental lock features – we should be able to show what we want when we want to compete on a level playing field with Pay & SVOD.”
Free TV is understood to be hopeful of addressing classification concerns with new Minister of Communications Paul Fletcher.