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Over half of UK on-demand services now have subtitles

New report from Ofcom looks at first six months of 2018

A new report from Ofcom says over half of UK on-demand services are now providing subtitles for viewers.

The report looked at the first six months of 2018, and found that most channels broadcasting in the UK continued to comfortably meet their accessibility requirements. Certain channels which underperformed in 2017 are now on course to exceed their requirements by the end of this year.

Among on-demand services, which include public service broadcasters’ catch-up services, just over half (52 per cent) of providers now offer subtitled content. The proportion of on-demand providers offering audio-described programmes increased slightly to 13, although the amount of signed content remained static at 8 per cent. Some 45 per cent of on-demand providers don’t offer any access services.

Since the last report (which was for the full calendar year 2017) the percentage of providers making any content accessible on their on-demand programme service rose from 50.6 per cent to 54.7 per cent. 

Ofcom says this was due to a rise in the provision of subtitles, from 49 per cent to 52 per cent of providers, and in audio description provision from 11 per cent to 13.3 per cent of providers (8.6 per cent of services). The proportion of providers making signed content available remained static at 8 per cent (4.7 per cent of services). 

There is currently no legal requirement on providers of on-demand programming services to make their content accessible to people with hearing and/or visual impairments. This differs from broadcast television services, where broadcasters must achieve specific accessibility targets.