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Sky announces plans to increase on-demand subtitled content

Posted on 06/07/2015

Sky has shared plans with Action on Hearing Loss, outlining its commitment to ensure its on-demand platform can show substantially more subtitles by summer 2016, a move that promises to make its service more accessible to the one in six people in the UK who have some kind of hearing loss.

Currently, little of Sky’s on-demand content is accessible to deaf people, but plans to address the technical problems will open up much of Sky’s most popular TV and film content to subtitle users for the first time.

Ian Rosarius, Sky’s Director for Product Design and Development, said, “We understand the nature of TV has changed, as we offer more catch-up and on demand services, and that the accessibility of this content has not kept pace. We are absolutely determined to resolve this, and by summer 2016, all our customers will be able to watch the most popular and best Sky On Demand content on your TV with subtitles.”

Subtitle It!

Action on Hearing Loss launched its Subtitle it! campaign in June, last month, and is calling for subtitles on whatever we watch, however we watch it since more than 80% of on demand providers don’t offer any subtitles at all.

Since the campaign launched over 3,000 people have written to the minister, Ed Vaizey, calling on him to keep the government promise made in 2013 to review progress on the provision of subtitles across on-demand content by July 2016.

Our Chief Executive, Paul Breckell said, “We warmly welcome Sky’s announcement that its most popular on-demand content will have subtitles by next summer, and we look forward to seeing detailed plans from Sky to subtitle the remainder of its on demand content across all devices and third party content, in the near future.

 “Through working closely with Sky, we know that they have been working behind the scenes on this development for some time and it’s great to see this come to fruition. This is a fantastic step and will make a huge difference to Sky’s deaf and hard of hearing customers, like teenager Jamie Danjoux whose petition continues to raise awareness of this issue.

What next?

Paul continued, “It is essential that other providers follow suit now and invest to overcome technical issues, and that the Government introduces regulations bringing access to the on-demand world to end the digital exclusion of people living with a hearing loss.”

The charity will continue to work with Sky and keep our supporters up to date.

For more information

Read Sky’s full announcement in our blog post.

Find out more about Subtitle It! and Jamie’s own campaign.

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