I’m thrilled to see my guest blog is on the Action on Hearing Loss website today!
I’ve been a member of Action on Hearing Loss for years now, including spending a year fund-raising and supporting their activities, and it’s really satisfying being able to play a part in campaigning and raising awareness on hearing loss issues.
I was delighted to be asked to write a response to the recent ATVOD report about the poor levels of subtitling for on-demand services. We all know the technology exists to make this happen – the BBC has 100% of its content fully accessible – so other broadcasters are lagging way behind and they need a sharp poke with a pointy stick to get them to catch up.
Yes, there are technical difficulties, but if the sound went off on normal programmes you wouldn’t be able to hear yourself think as a scream of protest went up around the world from people with normal hearing! Why should we be any different?
Sky is missing a huge financial opportunity here too – there are 7.5m people in the UK who regularly need subtitles but can’t access anything on Sky’s ‘On Demand’ service. It’s so disappointing/frustrating/irritating!!! If Sky got their finger out and provided subtitles just think how many more potential customers they could get!
The new ATVOD report out today shows that 96% of Sky TV’s on-demand services have no subtitles. Well that stinks! No wonder we all get so annoyed when we have to pay full price for our Sky subscription but can’t access most of it online because we can’t hear the dialogue.
And just to show that feeble excuses about ‘technical difficulties’ won’t be accepted – contrast the results against the BBC who have 98% of their on-demand services fully accessible with subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Well done BBC!
One of the most infuriating things about watching TV or on-demand films/content is that so many programmes aren’t subtitled. I was really looking forward to watching “The Vikings” on the History Channel but, guess what, no subtitles! It’s really unfair that the majority of people can watch whatever they like but that hard-of-hearing or deaf/blind people have to put up with being treated like second class citizens. Why should I have to wait for months until the DVD comes out even though I’m still paying the same subscription charges (e.g. Sky) as everyone else? Ooh, it makes my blood boil!
I’ll be saying more about this in my guest blog for Action on Hearing Loss who’ve invited me to write a response to the findings of a report following their “Future of Subtitling Conference” held on 10 November in London in partnership with charities SENSE and UKCOD (UK Council on Deafness).
The Conference challenged broadcasters, service providers, Government, Ofcom and ATVOD (Authority for Television on Demand and co-regulator for Video on Demand services) to ensure subtitling and audio descriptions are provided as standard for hard-of-hearing and deaf/blind viewers so there is accessibility for all.
The findings of the ATVOD report – which is published on 13th December – make serious reading and send a really sharp message to broadcasters telling them it’s way beyond time to start pulling their socks up and to do something about it. Watch out for my blog which will be appearing w/c 16th December on http://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/community/blogs/our-guest-blog.aspx