Breakthrough helps catch-up TV catch up to expectations

Post date: 
Monday, 23 January 2017
Category: 
Campaigning news
Accessible information
Remote control in the foreground pointing at a blurred TV screen

Did you know catch-up TV has almost no audio description, unlike broadcast TV? 

 
We, along with other charities, have been working for a long time to persuade the Government to make audio description on catch-up TV a requirement by law. So we’re delighted that the Government has now agreed to add an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill which will require audio description, subtitles and sign language on video on demand services.
 
Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture, tweeted in support of this decision on Monday 23 January, saying: "Simply not right that people with hearing or sight disabilities have to put up with a 2nd-class service for watching TV & films On-demand."

What happens next?

This amendment to the law paves the way to audio described programmes appearing on catch-up TV, but it will take around a year for the regulator and the industry to start putting it into practice. Throughout this we will continue to work to ensure the changes happen as quickly and as effectively as possible.
 
We expect the availability of audio described programmes to start increasing on catch-up TV over 2018.
 
Our Policy Manager Hugh Huddy, says: 
 

"Ofcom's research shows 70% of the UK public now watch programmes at a time that suits them using “on-demand” or “catch-up” TV. By the time broadcast programmes reach the catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and Demand 5, the audio description has gone. This new amendment to the legislation paves the way to fix this, but it won't happen overnight. Good things come to those who wait, and it's great that blind and partially sighted people won't now have to wait for ever."

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