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      Video on Demand broadcasters failing deaf viewers

      2 February 2015

      80 per cent of ‘on-demand’ TV services have no subtitles, preventing the millions of Brits who rely on subtitles from watching the latest programmes

      80 per cent of ‘on-demand’ TV services have no subtitles, preventing the millions of Brits who rely on subtitles from watching the latest programmes whenever and however they want to, reveals charity Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID) as part of its new Subtitle It! campaign launched today (2 June).
       
      Video On Demand (VOD) companies are providing very low levels of subtitled content, with independent figures showing that even a service leader like Sky On Demand provides less than 4 per cent of its content with subtitles. The charity’s campaign is calling on the Government to deliver on its promise to introduce legislation to ensure all on-demand companies provide subtitles for the UK’s 7.5 million who rely on them if improvements haven’t been made by 2016.
       
      Paul Breckell, Chief Executive at charity Action on Hearing Loss says: ‘Subtitles, or the lack of them, is the biggest issue that we are contacted about by our thousands of members. New technologies mean people now have a greater choice of programmes to watch, but not if you have a hearing loss. We will continue to work with VOD companies for further improvements in subtitles in the next year, but we will also be calling on the Government to legislate if the deadline they have set for improvements is not met. Subtitled content on VOD is woefully low and it’s totally unacceptable that the millions of people who rely on subtitles cannot enjoy the same viewing experience as their hearing peers.’
       
      Kim Lucas, a subtitle campaigner, said: ‘It’s so frustrating to know that I cannot rely on subtitled catch up TV services to enjoy the latest shows. I pay the same subscription fee and all I want is equality so I can enjoy TV content whenever and however I want to watch it.’
       
      Access to TV programmes for people with hearing loss has vastly improved in recent years, however many programmes on catch up or video on demand services do not have subtitles, even if the programmes were subtitled when they were originally broadcast.  To find out more about Action on Hearing Loss please visit Subtitle it

      Contact for media enquiries

      For further information, interview requests and images please contact Gorki Duhra, Senior PR Officer, telephone: 020 7296 8057 / 07944 038635; email: gorki.duhra@hearingloss.org.uk and Twitter: @hearinglosspr
       
      Notes to editors:

      • Action on Hearing Loss helps people to confront deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose.  Action on Hearing Loss enables them to take control of their lives and remove the barriers in their way. Action on Hearing Loss gives people support and care, develop technology and treatments, and campaign for equality.
      • The Action on Hearing Loss report, Getting The Full Picture, is available via the following link Getting the full picture
      • According to qualitative research by Ofcom, 67% of people with hearing loss agreed that TV is important to them - rising to 74% of people who are severely or profoundly deaf. According to Ofcom’s research, about 7.5 million people have used subtitles to watch television, although six million of them do not have hearing loss. People with hearing loss watch TV for an average of 4.3 hours a day, compared with average viewing across the UK of 3.46 hours a day.