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Films and games supplied online

This page explains what is required for films and games supplied to New Zealanders via download/streaming services, and how to obtain digital labels for display online.

URL of a website in a browser

New Zealanders want to see official classifications

Classifications help New Zealanders make informed choices about what they view or play, and help protect our young people from potentially harmful content. Our research confirms that the classification and labelling system is held in high regard by the New Zealand public, and there is a strong consumer expectation that all films and restricted games will be labelled. The vast majority of parents and caregivers view classifications as important when choosing films and games for young people.

Image of classification labels assigned by the Classification Office
Official classifications are preferred by the majority of New Zealanders

Displaying official classifications for online films and games

If a film or restricted game is supplied to the public as a hardcopy (for example a DVD) then it must be classified and labelled before release. However, the legal requirements for films and games distributed online via download/streaming services are currently unclear. Legal requirements for online-only content are currently being reviewed by the New Zealand Government.

We encourage the use of classification information online. This is easy to do and various online services already use official New Zealand classifications. Some video-on-demand/gaming services require that official classification information is displayed for New Zealand customers. When distributing a film or game online, check to see what the requirements are for the distribution service you are using.

The Classification Office and other agencies responsible for the classification system work with distributors of online content to ensure that compliance is as easy as possible. Please let us know if you require any assistance.

Contact our Information Unit for advice

Learn more about online advertising for films and games

The same classification applies to online and hardcopy versions

The same classification applies to a film or game regardless of format. If a film or game has been previously classified you can display this classification information online. To find out if a rating/classification has been issued for a film or game previously, search for a classification.

Both the rating/classification (eg R16 or R18) and the descriptive note (eg 'contains violence') should be clearly displayed when a film or game is supplied online.

How to get an online film or game classification

If the film or game has not been previously rated/classified in New Zealand, and you would like to obtain an official classification, contact the Film and Video Labelling Body. You can call the Labelling Body on +64 09 361 3882, or email them at enquiries@fvlb.org.nz.

Banned films and games

Some films and games are classified as 'objectionable' (banned) in New Zealand. It is an offence to make banned content available in New Zealand. It is also an offence for someone in New Zealand to download, view or play a banned film or game.

Learn more about classification enforcement, offences and penalties

What about additional downloadable content for games?

We recommend that distributors submit additional downloadable content for classification if:

  • The nature of the additional content is substantially different from the original game, for example if it contains stronger levels of violence, or if it introduces additional types of content such as sex or drug use
  • The additional content significantly expands the gaming experience.

Why unrestricted games do not have the same classification requirements as films

Unrestricted games do not carry New Zealand ratings because games are exempted from this requirement under section 8 of the Classification Act.