David Padmore, Director of Access Services at ITV, talks about audio description (AD)
At ITV, we aim to ensure our programmes and services are accessible to the largest of audiences. We are committed to promoting accessibility both on- and off-screen, and now have a specialist in-house Access Services team.
Ofcom's code on TV Access Services sets annual targets for subtitling, audio description, and visually signed content - which ITV continues to exceed, measuring year on year against our transmission hours. Ofcom sets ITV's quotas for AD at 10 per cent; ITV voluntarily sets it at 20 per cent for most channels and in the first half of 2019, ITV's main channel achieved 23 per cent, with ITV2 achieving 48 per cent, ITV3 55% and 34.3% on ITV4.
As a broadcaster, we are actively working to overcome different obstacles to our provision of AD. Our in-house technical teams are working on bringing AD capability to more Hub platforms, including the web version and smart TVs. We are also looking to address AD on late-delivering programmes such as Love Island, and are exploring ways of offering AD on live content, which accounts for significant portions of the schedules on main channel, ITV2 and ITV4.
We have recently set up a dedicated focus group comprising members of our AD audience. This group not only allows us to ensure the AD we are producing is of the highest standard and meets the needs of our audience; it also enables us to gather feedback on new initiatives as we develop them, including a study we are currently running on describing diversity.