Our open letter to the VOD industry

Following the outcome of the Government review of on-demand subtitling, we’re calling on providers to work together to find solutions to providing subtitles.

Share our open letter with your TV provider

Open letter 

April 2016

An open letter to the UK video-on-demand industry

Earlier this month, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey stated that he will continue to press for improvements in the VOD industry by extending the deadline for broadcasters, content providers, and platforms to deliver improved access services (subtitling, signing and audio description). In Spring 2017, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will ask you to report on your progress. 

Action on Hearing Loss recognises the steps that some broadcasters, content operators and platforms have taken to improve VOD subtitling. But, as Ofcom recently noted, the on-going lack of provision remains a source of real concern and, we know, a source of significant frustration among viewers.

The provision of subtitles for on-demand content isn’t just a matter of meeting the needs of people with hearing loss, it also makes commercial sense. Research shows that 87% of people with hearing loss have started to watch VOD content only to find it had no subtitles, and more than two thirds of subscribers would switch TV service providers if they knew they could have access to more content with subtitles. Broadcasters also tell us that the audience of subtitled content is far bigger than just viewers with hearing loss, making their provision even more beneficial.

Ed Vaizey has called on the industry to work together to find solutions to providing access services. We’re urging the industry to rise to this challenge, and we’re committed to working with you to support the improvements still to make. 11 million viewers with hearing loss across the UK are turning to you to ensure that, come Spring 2017, subtitles are provided for all video on demand content so viewers can watch whatever they want, whenever they want it.

We'll be in touch shortly to discuss your next steps and plans for the coming 12 months. Please do contact us directly at campaigns@hearingloss.org.uk if you have any questions or would like to discuss this letter further.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Breckell
Chief Executive
Action on Hearing Loss

Download the open letter here.

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