On 17 May, Ofcom has published proposals for consultation aimed at improving live subtitling to provide a better viewing experience for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing in the UK. While pre-prepared subtitling is generally of a good quality, viewers have made clear that there are continuing problems concerning live TV subtitling. The main problems are:
Under the current Code on Television Access Services, TV broadcasters that attract a certain audience level must provide subtitles and they have to provide information to Ofcom on the amount of subtitling they provide. 70 channels now provide subtitling and the amount has risen from 10% on most channels to 80% or more in 2013. Ofcom is now proposing that they also report on the quality of their subtitles. Therefore, Ofcom is proposing to publish reports every six months on:
Ofcom is also asking broadcasters and others for views on the feasibility of delaying live programmes for a short period of time (a few seconds) to improve the quality of live subtitling. Ofcom’s consultation closes on 25 July 2013. A statement on the outcome is expected by late 2013 or early 2014.