Over the past few years the charity group ‘Action on Hearing Loss’ have worked on their ‘Subtitle It’ campaign, in an effort to compel the government to add a bill for online broadcasters and video services to add Video-on-Demand Subtitles to their content.
Action on Hearing Loss Campaign Finds Subtitle Success
After years of deliberating and campaigning, as of 8th February 2017, parliament voted in favour of making Video-on-Demand subtitles a legal requirement. The House of Lords officially approved the government proposal to amend the Digital Economy Bill, effectively giving Ofcom the power to regulate and enforce Video-on-Demand broadcasters to provide subtitles with their shows.
The Action on Hearing Loss charity campaign was essentially concerned with adding subtitles to VOD content in order to give accessibility to sound and video content to viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Unlike television broadcasters who are required by law to add closed captions to their content, before the ‘Subtitle It’ campaign, there was no legal responsibility to add subtitles to online Video-on-Demand services. Urging the government to enforce this requirement closes the accessibility gap that left 7.6 million people across the UK unable to effectively appreciate VOD content.
With television and video viewing habits changing since the introduction of Video-on-Demand services such as Netflix and others, people with hearing loss had felt like they were lagging behind, unable to appreciate the viewing technology that is available to others, as well as the exclusive shows VOD now has to offer (think House of Cards, Better Call Saul and more…) With this new bill being passed, the deaf and hard of hearing can now catch up on their favourite TV shows just like their hearing peers.
At Capital Captions, hearing loss is an issue close to our hearts. We believe strongly that in a heavily increasing digital world, adding subtitling to catch-up TV shows and Video-on-Demand services is essential for social inclusion and information accessibility. This bill is extremely important for the hard of hearing community, giving them the accessibility they require and opening up a wider range of programming options.