#SubtitleIt campaign and other UK regulatory news

Earlier this year Action on Hearing loss created a survey to gather the experiences and thoughts of subtitle users access to video on demand (VOD) services in the UK.  The results have been published and the report titled Progress on Pause is well worth a read.

It’s part of the #SubtitleIt campaign which is a joint effort from multiple UK charities that wants to see VOD accessibility regulated as a mandatory requirement as is currently the case in the UK for linear TV.  Individual advocates alongside the charities efforts has resulted in some success so far including a statement from Sky to commit to increasing their on demand subtitled content.

Graphic of Houses of Parliament and #SubtitleIt logo

The deadline to ask your MP to back the bill is November 2015.

The campaign is far from over however. For any legislation to become a reality, it needs support from MPs. If you do not see your local MP listed here please write to them asking them to back the bill. (Note this also includes other important accessibility features such as audio description and signing). Please don’t miss the deadline.

ATVOD logo

From 1st January 2016, ATVOD will no longer exist as a co-regulator and its responsibilities will be carried out by Ofcom

In other regulatory news that effects VOD services in the UK, the regulatory body Ofcom announced that it would take over the role of ATVOD:

The regulation of ‘video-on-demand’ programme services is being brought fully within Ofcom to sit alongside its regulation of broadcast content.

The move follows an Ofcom review to ensure regulation of broadcast and on-demand content remains as effective and efficient as possible for the benefit of consumers, audiences and industry.

The review included the current co-regulatory arrangements for video-on-demand services. These can include catch-up TV and on-demand services on the TV and the internet. Ofcom designated the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) in 2010 as a co-regulator to take the lead in regulating editorial content for video-on-demand services.

Following the review, Ofcom has decided that acting as sole regulator for video-on-demand programmes is a more effective model for the future than having two separate bodies carrying out this work. This will create operational efficiencies and allow editorial content on video-on-demand to sit alongside Ofcom’s existing regulation of broadcasting.

SOURCE: Ofcom brings regulation of ‘video-on-demand’ in-house

This (in my opinion) is good news. It means a far less confusing regulatory model and that all TV will sit under the same regulator.   Ofcom recently published its results into access services on UK TV for the first six months of 2015.  With Ofcom to take over the duties of ATVOD in 2016, wouldn’t it be great if we could have the same level of transparency on how each VOD service is performing with more regular (and legally required) statistical reporting on levels of access services here too?

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