Ofcom, Office of Communications

Television access in the UK: 2012 in review

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Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, has released its final report on the provision of access services on television for 2012. As in previous reports, most broadcasters were found to be exceeding quotas for captioning, which range from 70 to 100 per cent for most channels.

The Television Access Services: Final report on 2012 also shows that audio description levels are high. While their mandatory quotas are 10%, a number of channels, including ITV1 (in England and Wales), Channel 4, Sky (for its non-sport channels) and the BBC have committed to audio describing 20% of their programs.


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Results of UK caption quality survey released

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A survey on the quality of television captioning, conducted by Action on Hearing Loss, the largest deafness advocacy organisation in the UK, has found that captioning on news programs is easily the biggest area of concern for Deaf and hearing impaired viewers.

46 per cent of the people who took part in the online survey complained about captioning (called subtitling in the UK) on news programs, with the most commonly identified problems being a delay between speech and the caption appearing on screen, and poor accuracy of captions. These are problems commonly associated with live captioning.


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Ofcom extends access requirements to programs made for Europe

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The British communications regulator, Ofcom, has decided to extend the access requirements it places on UK broadcasters to channels providing services to other countries in Europe.

The access requirements will be the same as those applied to domestic broadcasters. They consist of quotas which, after ten years, rise to 80% for captioning, 10% for audio description and 5% for signing. Ofcom may decide to reduce these quotas for channels where the access services would cost more than 1% of their relevant turnover.


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Ofcom releases television access scorecard

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UK regulator Ofcom has released its first report for 2012 on the levels of access services, including captions, audio description and signing, showing that most broadcasters are continuing to exceed the required quotas.

The report, Television Access Services: Report for the first six months of 2012, has shown that many channels are significantly exceeding both the captioning (called subtitling in the UK) and audio description (AD) quotas, including on free-to-air channels, such as ITV and BBC, movies and sports channels.


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