Video on Demand lack of subtitling “unacceptable,” says hearing loss charity

Video on Demand lack of subtitling “unacceptable,” says hearing loss charity

Today (13 December), in response to new research from The Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD) highlighting the lack of subtitled content provided by Video on Demand (VOD) providers, charity Action on Hearing Loss is calling on VOD companies to ensure their viewers with a hearing loss can enjoy TV how and when they want just like their hearing peers.

ATVOD’s report shows that just 7% of VOD providers offer subtitles via Mobile or Tablet yet the charity’s own survey reveals that almost a third of people with a hearing loss (29%) wish to watch TV via these devices – but are unable to due to the lack of subtitled content.

Worryingly, over 96% of Sky On Demand content was without subtitles. However there has been an increase in subtitling levels on broadcasters own websites with Channel 5 improving from 37% to 72% in a year.

Paul Breckell, Chief Executive of charity Action on Hearing Loss, said: ‘It’s unacceptable that so little subtitled VOD content can be viewed via commercial platforms like Virgin or YouView. We know there are no fundamental barriers to the delivery of subtitles on VOD, as demonstrated by the BBC, who have worked with multiple platforms to make their iPlayer accessible across thousands of devices.

‘We welcome ATVOD’s work to bring together service providers, encourage improvements in the quantity of subtitles and tackle the technical problems associated with subtitles on VOD services. The government is committed to act if no improvements have been made by 2016, so we are calling on service providers and broadcasters to beat this deadline, work with ATVOD, and share their plans to improve access. We understand that progress is being made, but there is really no excuse for VOD providers to continue excluding people with hearing loss from enjoying the majority of programmes.’

The Authority for Television on Demand, has published, Provision of Video on Demand Access Services, which is available via