New classification tool approved for online content ratings

The Albanese Government has approved the use of the Spherex Classification Tool as a new mechanism of safeguarding and regulating content in Australia under the Classification Act (Publications, Films and Computer Games) 1995. 

The Tool will be used to classify online films, series and episodes to make them available for Australian and international viewers, helping to reduce the cost and increasing the speed of classifying content for the Australian market.

This means Australians will now be able to access a range of new programs sooner than they otherwise might, including locally produced films and series.

Spherex is a US-based media company that manages the global distribution and rating of content on behalf of industry clients. The Australian Government – including the Australian Classification Board – have been working with Spherex to develop the Tool since 2020.

This includes refining the parameters of the Tool to ensure that when a classification is applied, it meets the highest community standards and the requirements of the Classification Act.

Nevertheless, the Australian Classification Board is able to revoke a Tool decision and replace it with a new decision if they believe the classification category or consumer advice should be different. This two-layer approach will ensure content is suitably classified and Australian consumers are protected.

The Spherex tool is used to classify content supplied to over 100 countries and its approval in Australia adds to two other ratings tools available here:

  • the IARC Global Ratings Tool to classify online and mobile computer games; and
  • the Netflix Classification Tool for content available on the Netflix Australia video on demand service. 

For more information about the National Classification Scheme, visit: 

Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:

“As today’s media and digital environment continues to change, we have a responsibility to remain agile in our response to providing ratings and advice.

The Spherex Classification Tool will allow our classification framework to appropriately inform Australian viewers about the content they watch.

The rigorous testing conducted by my department and Spherex reaffirms my confidence in the decision to approve the Spherex Classification Tool to help Australian viewers make informed choices about the content they choose to watch and engage with.”