Charity Action on Hearing Loss is urging the Government to tackle the inequalities that deaf people face trying to enjoy on-demand TV and films with subtitles, by finally introducing regulation as viewers with a hearing loss are excluded from ‘catching-up’ on television with over three-quarters (76%) of the UK’s on-demand services providing no subtitles, says a new report.
The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) report shows that little progress has been made since their last review of on-demand services in December 2014, with them citing the lack shared responsibility and communication between providers and platforms as a barrier to making content accessible for deaf viewers.
Action on Hearing Loss Chief Executive Paul Breckell, said: ‘This year ‘’binge-watch’’ was named word of the year, which highlights the monumental shift in the way we watch television. But over Christmas if someone with hearing loss wants to catch up on the Downton Abbey festive special, depending on which subscription service they use, they will struggle to watch it with subtitles meaning that unless they watch the episode when it’s first broadcast they are likely to miss it altogether.
‘Regulation is the only option to ensure that the provision of subtitles for on-demand services remains consistent amongst all broadcasters, with responsibility assigned for accessible content. While it’s encouraging to see some new developments with some of the major platforms due to improve their subtitling provision, it still means thousands of people with hearing loss will be digitally excluded this Christmas.
‘We would like to thank ATVOD for their efforts and for working with us in such a constructive way despite having no legal powers to force broadcasters to make enhancements. We hope to see improvements now that Ofcom will bring ‘video-on-demand’ programme services under their own remit to sit alongside its regulation of broadcast content to ensure that people with a hearing loss can access subtitles for whatever they watch and however they watch it.’
Read the original article on www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk