UK TV services continue to exceed access requirements

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Thursday, 6 October 2011 10:09am

Ofcom, the UK media and communications regulator, has published data on access services provided on television in the first half of 2011, revealing the vast majority of services have exceeded their legal obligations, particularly for captioning and audio description.

The Television Access Services: Report of the first six months of 2011 revealed that 11 channels provided captions on more than 99% of programming and 35 channels at least doubled the minimum requirement of providing audio description on 10% of programming. All channels with sign language obligations met the minimum requirements.

A number of BBC channels narrowly missed their 100% captioning requirements (less than 0.1%) due to technical problems which have been addressed.

ESPN, Sky Livingit, and Sky Challenge were the only other channels who were not meeting their access obligations by mid-year.  ESPN failed to provide any audio description at all despite its 3% obligation, and the Sky Channels provided less than half their 40% captioning obligations. All three will now be required to provide more access services over the rest of the year to make up for the short fall.

The UK television access system is widely recognised as world leading. Television channels face legal obligations through the Code of Television Access Services to provide captions, audio description and sign language appropriate for their audience reach. Further, channels are obliged to spend up to 1% of annual revenue on access services.

Ofcom now reports six-monthly and provides a clear, transparent account of what is required and what has been achieved. Visit our UK access regulation section for more information on Ofcom.

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