Accessibility of disabled persons to TV programmes and disability representation on air – French CSA report

posted on 01 August, 2017   (public)

The French CSA (Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel) published in June 2017 its annual report entitled: “Accessibility of disabled persons to TV programmes and disability representation on air”.

Ensuring the widest possible access to television services is one of the targets set by the French CSA. In addition to several French laws ensuring accessibility to TV programmes for persons with disabilities person, the French regulator published three charters concerning the quality of audio description, captioning and sign language. The present report is a follow up of TV channels compliance with those obligations. It also highlights the actions of the CSA to ensure the accessibility and representation of disabled persons in the field of television broadcasting.

  • Accessibility to audio-visual programmes: The five public service channels and the main commercial ones fulfilled their legal obligations in 2016 regarding captioning. For some private channels (M6, C8) the annual volume of subtitled programmes has slightly dropped. News channels respected their legal obligation regarding sign language. More broadly, there is a small increase of translated programmes in sign language in the public and private sector. The CSA even notes with satisfaction that public service channels and some commercial operators (TF1, M6, W9 and 6ter) broadcast a volume of audio descripted programmes higher than the volume prescribed by law.
  • Cost of accessible programmes: In 2016 the average hourly cost for subtitled programmes was between €300 and €960 according to the type of programmes, between €1045 and €7500 for sign-language-translated programmes and between €1674 and €3600 for audio-descripted programmes.  
  • Accessibility to on-demand audiovisual media services: Even if there is no legal obligation, the CSA encourages providers to make their content more accessible for disable persons. In 2016, only 3 out of 9 providers were making some of their content accessible, the main reason being financial and technical issues.
  • CSA's actions in 2016: The CSA focused on missing or inadequate subtitled and sign-language translated-programmes. The CSA also conducted a public study following the terrorist attacks in Paris about programmes’ accessibility.
  • Finally, the report outlines the future actions and cooperation activities that the CSA plans to conduct regarding connected TV, OTT and their access by disabled persons.

Sources: CSA Website

For a European-wide overview of the various activities conducted in the field of greater accessibility to audiovisual media services, see also the ERGA report of 2016 entitled "Special Task Report on the provision of greater accessibility to audiovisual media services for persons with disabilities".