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UK: Member of Parliament Tulip Siddiq in Parliamentary Question Asks for Proportion of Accessible BBC Content

February 11, 2018

In Parliamentary Questions this week Tulip Siddiq MP for Hampstead & Kilburn asked DCMS about the proportion of BBC content that includes audio description.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries replied saying: "A digitally inclusive society is a key priority for the Government, and everyone should be able to enjoy and exploit the benefits and convenience afforded to able-bodied people. Ofcom is required under the Communications Act (2003) to set targets for the proportion of BBC output that should be audio described. Currently the BBC channels (excluding BBC Parliament) are required to audio describe 10% of their programme content (except in the case of BBC News). Ofcom publishes reports on the provision of access services and the latest report shows that BBC channels comfortably exceed their targets. As Ofcom's report shows, broadcasters in the UK already provide a high level of subtitling, signing and audio description which is available for scheduled programming, but there is still room for improvement. Through the Digital Economy Act 2017, the provision of access services (subtitling, singing and audio description) is being extended to on demand services. Ofcom is in the process of consulting to determine the requirements that providers of on-demand programme services will be required to meet which will then be set out by the Secretary of State."

David Bradshaw of the DTG Accessibility Group commented: "The DTG actively supports the provision of access services to ensure that everyone can benefit from the broad range of digital content available through broadcast and on-demand services. It achieves this through its work with the industry on requirements specifications, product testing and the creation of guidelines to support both content creators and product developers. This is an ongoing activity that started with the Digital Action Plan and continues with the latest update to the DTG's Usability Guidelines (The U-Book) due to be released this year."

The revised DTG U-Book will include chapters on Subtitles and Audio Description, Text to Speech and Clear Speech.

Source: Digital TV Group