Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ
- How do I join the BVA?
- Where can I find sales figures and weekly Blu-ray and DVD Charts?
- How can I find out more information about the video entertainment market?
- Where can I get information on the international video entertainment market?
- Do I need a special licence to open a video store?
- I am opening a video store. Where can I buy my stock?
- What are the regulations retailers should be aware of?
- I want to show a video to a group of people. What do I need?
- Can I legally set up a small video library within our company?
- Can I get permission to use a video in the classroom?
- What video industry trade press is there?
- I am opening a shop renting video games. What are the legal requirements?
- Why can’t I buy films on VHS cassette?
- I would like to become an importer and distributor of DVDs. Do you have information on distribution?
- How can I get a copy of an old or deleted video?
- How can I find out if a video is available?
- How do I add subtitles to a DVD I have produced?
- How can I find out if a video is exempt from classification?
You are eligible to join the BVA as a full member if you are a rights owning company based in the UK, distributing video entertainment content on any platform.
You may join as an associate member if you do not own distribution rights but your main business is in the UK video industry. Please go to Membership Information for more information or request a membership pack from the BVA on:
- Tel: +44 (0) 20 7436 0041
You can find the weekly top 10 Blu-ray and DVD sales charts on our website. Please go to Blu-ray and DVD Sales Charts. You have to be a BVA Member to access the sales figures. Top line retail Blu-ray and DVD and aggregated sales figures are supplied to us by the Official Charts Company UK (OCC).
If you would like to subscribe to their service please contact the OCC on:
- Tel: +44 (0) 20 7620 7450
For sales performance of individual titles please contact the distributor or OCC direct.
The BVA publishes an authoritative annual yearbook containing statistics and detailed analysis of the video entertainment market.
The BVA Yearbook also includes statistics on Ireland, insight into consumers’ interest in new technologies, both in leisure hardware and the digital market for on-line video content, plus reports on the impact of copyright theft on the audiovisual sector.
Regular features look at industry's approach to copyright theft, from the Alliance for Intellectual Property, the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the Industry Trust for IP Awareness. They include International Video Federation's perspective from Brussels, the Video Standards Council, the regulatory work of the British Board of Film Classification and news from the Entertainment Retailers Association.
The IVF Yearbook is published every summer and provides European video market data and summaries. It is available to buy direct from the IVF. Back copies are also available, as are top-line statistics on their web site.
No special licence is needed to rent or sell videos, except for adult products (R18 product) when a sex shop licence is required from the local authority (you would need to speak to your local council about obtaining this).
However, videos have two different types of copyright licences – rental and retail. (Some rental stock has a retail licence attached to it which becomes valid after a specified length of time so that rental facilities can sell off excess stock of past bestselling titles). It is vital that the correct stock is purchased (purchasing retail videos to rent out is illegal) but any wholesalers offering a good service should be able to assist someone setting up a store.
You should contact The Video Standards Council to assist you on staying on the right side of the law and adopting proper trading standards
The VSC has a code of practice and guidelines to promote high standards within the video industry and can help with staff training on video regulation and your legal obligations.
You can deal direct with the label by opening an account with their distributor or you can buy all labels through a wholesaler.
For retail product you can contact:
- Gardners Books
1 Whittle Drive
Customer Care Tel: +44 (0)1323 521 777
Customer Care Fax: +44 (0)1323 521 666
Gardcall: 01323 521 444
- Music Box Leisure Limited
Unit 9 Enterprise Court
Lancashire Enterprise Business Park
Tel: +44 (0)1772 455 000
Fax: +44 (0)1772 331 199
- The Webb Group Ltd
Burton Upon Trent
Tel: +44 (0) 1283 566 311
Other wholesalers you could try are:
- Crownville ltd
Tel: 0120 282 7000
- DCC plc
Tel: +353 1279 9400
- Discount Video (Leyton) Limited
Tel: 020 8534 6087
- Discstribution Ltd
Tel: 0845 430 8735
- ESD Wholesale
Tel: 0845 345 4373
- Filmtone Ltd
Tel: 020 8500 9009
- Lasgo Chrysalis
Tel: 020 8459 8800
- Library Multimedia Supplies Ltd
Tel: 01202 399 252
- Multichannel Solutions for Entertainment Ireland (MSE Ireland)
Tel: +353 1282 6444
Tel: 01909 470 470
- Wholesale Direct Ltd
Tel: 01451 823 148
- Windsong International
Tel: 020 8639 4589
Retailers are subject to the 1984 Video Recordings Act and need to be aware of the law regarding supply of age-restricted product and of labelling regulations. Breaches of this law can lead to heavy fines or even imprisonment.
For more information consult these sites;
BBFC – British Board of Film Classification
VSC – The Video Standards Council for a layman's guide and the full text of the Act
There is no one licence that enables you to show a video in public. Any showing outside the home is deemed to be a public showing and therefore needs the rights holder’s permission; otherwise it would be in breach of copyright law.
For educational purposes, permission need not be obtained from the rights owner, for showing in a classroom environment.
You can apply to the rights owner direct to request clearance for use but for regular showings it is easier to contact a company that is licensed to hire out videos for 'non-theatrical' public showings in clubs, discos, hospitals, oil rigs, holiday camps, coaches, ships, ferries, restaurants, village halls etc.
- FilmBank Distributors Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7984 5957
- Park Circus
Tel: +44 (0) 141 332 2175
- BFI (Connoisseur titles only)
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7957 8938
The premises in which you wish to show the video must hold a PRS (Performing Rights Society) licence. Check with the venue if they hold such a licence or contact the PRS.
Find out more about copyright law at;
Depending on what your business is, you may or may not be able to set up a library without a licence. The best thing to do is contact Filmbank to seek advice:
- Filmbank Distributors Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7984 5954
Copyright law allows the use of videos in schools for educational purposes without asking the rights owner for specific permission.
This does not include entertaining a class on a wet afternoon. It must be in the course of instruction only.
There are a number of publications that cover video industry matters and related subjects.
- Billboard – music news, in-depth features and charts
- Broadcast Magazine – the television industry's weekly trade magazine
- Cue Entertainment – a video entertainment business magazine.
- Music Week – for everyone in the business of music
- Screen International – latest news, comprehensive statistics and in-depth analysis of issues shaping the international film business
- Variety – for timely, credible and straight forward news and analysis of the entertainment industry
If you are interested in opening a store dedicated to games, you should contact:
- The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE)
- The Video Standards Council can also advise on the legal requirements for games classification and their supply to the public
I would like to become an importer and distributor of Blu-ray and DVDs. Do you have information on distribution?
To distribute video works in the UK you need to obtain a licence or have acquired the distribution rights from the original rights owner.
It is prohibited under the Video Recordings Act to supply pre-recorded videos in the UK without having submitted the works to the BBFC for classification. See Website: www.bbfc.co.uk
Works to be sold in the UK need to be packaged according to the video packaging regulations mandated under the Video Recordings Act and manufactured by a replicator who will print the BBFC classification symbols on the discs.
Assuming you do not have any liaison with a physical distributor in the UK yet, it would be advisable to seek out a distributor already set up in the UK to help market, sell and distribute the product.
Try searching for old, rare or deleted videos with the following companies.
- Filmbank Distributors
Tel: +44 (0)20 7984 5957
(Has one of the largest film libraries in Europe, with titles ranging from the present day to as far back as the 1920s)
- Park Circus
Tel: +44 (0) 141 332 2175
Most video retailers have access to an up to date list of currently available product and can order special titles for you.
- The BBFC lists all video titles ever classified for release in the UK, however it does not indicate current availability.
You would need to contact an authoring house to put subtitles on your DVD. Try contacting
IBF – International Broadcasting Facility
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7497 1515
SDI – Subtitling International
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8237 7956
To find out if a title is subtitled please go to http://dvd-subtitles.com/
The Video Recordings Act requires that all video works supplied in Britain must be classified by the body designated to perform this task, namely the British Board of Film Classification, unless they fall into one of the three exempt areas:
- works which, taken as a whole, are designed to inform, educate or instruct
- works which, taken as a whole, are concerned with sport, religion or music
- video games
Inevitably there is an element of interpretation required here so please refer to www.bbfc.co.uk for more information.