British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Channel 4 extends subtitling and audio description

As part of its planning for coverage of the 2012 Paralympic Games and in light of the reaffirmation of its public service role in the recent Digital Economy Act, Channel 4 has decided to make major new commitments in relation to subtitling and audio description, over and above its statutory obligations. These changes will significantly increase the quantity and range of programmes accessible to hearing and visually impaired audiences. From July, the broadcaster will increase subtitling on Channel 4, More 4, E4 Film 4 and +1 channels, with a view to achieving 100% coverage by January 2011. Provision for audio description will also be more than doubled, with the aim of delivering 20% across the channel portfolio by the same date.

This announcement coincides with the publication by Ofcom of a statement following a review of television access services (subtitling, audio description and signing) in the UK. The review looked at whether the requirements for channels to provide access services are fit for purpose and whether there is a case for increasing audio description targets. Ofcom concluded that the case for and against change to the targets was finely balanced, and has forwarded its findings to the Secretary of State for consideration.

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