Progress On Pause

subtitle it coverAs part of our Subtitle it! campaign we have launched our new report about the needs of people who rely on subtitles and their experiences of using on-demand services.

The way we watch TV has changed dramatically over recent years. We no longer need to rush home to watch our favourite programme on TV, because we can catch-up on a range of services through a whole host of devices - whether that’s on our mobile phone during our commute, in bed with our tablet or on our smart ‘connected’ TV.

 ‘On-demand’ TV and film services are more popular than ever before. But despite there being 7.5 million subtitle users in the UK, unlike on traditional TV, there’s nothing obliging broadcasters or TV platforms to offer subtitles on these on-demand services - and most don’t.

>> Download our full report.


Key findings

3,751 people with hearing loss completed our questionnaire during the summer of 2015 showing a huge proportion of people with hearing loss rely on subtitles to watch TV. They face a dramatic level of exclusion when they attempt to use on-demand television and film services.

  • 89% of people with hearing loss rely on subtitles to watch TV at least some of the time.
  • 87% of people with hearing loss have started to watch a programme on-demand and found that it had no subtitles.

Customers with hearing loss place a high level of importance on accessibility when it comes to making decisions about subscribing to services.

subtitle it report inforgraphic

People with hearing loss are tired of waiting for providers to open up their content and want the Government to act now to ensure that they are not digitally excluded.

  • Nine out of ten people with hearing loss think that the Government should to regulate to ensure that subtitles are available for on-demand services.

Our recommendations

We have two recommendations which we believe would make a huge difference to the level of accessibility of on-demand services.

1. The Government should legislate to ensure that on-demand service providers are compelled to provide minimum levels of access services on their content, in line with existing regulation around linear TV.

2. Providers of on-demand services should invest to increase the provision of access services across different platforms

Download our full report here.  

Take action to improve access to on-demand services

The Government will be reviewing legislation around on-demand subtitles in 2016. Please email your MP today to ask them to back legislation for subtitles, signing and audio description on video-on-demand services. This action will be open until 20 November 2015.

Take action now