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Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 11th July 2012.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to review the provision of subtitling on all broadcast platforms, including catch-up and on-demand services.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The Government understand that television subtitles on all broadcasting formats are vital if profoundly deaf and hard of hearing people are to have access to television and online TV services. It is for this reason that the Government are committed to maintaining access to broadcasting services for people with sensory impairments and to help ensure that the subtitling offered is of a consistently high standard.

In May of this year, I hosted an event, together with Intellect and the Royal National Institute for the Blind to celebrate the successes made by the UK TV industry over the last 10 years. During this event, the provision of subtitles on all broadcast platforms, including catch-up and on demand services was discussed. The event also looked at the challenges facing the industry, with the advent of Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) or connected televisions regarding subtitles of programmes delivered through online channels, video on demand and catch -up TV channels.

As part of the Communications Review process the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a paper on the ‘Consumer Perspective’ which, among other things, asks questions about accessibility issues. This will be discussed at the next meeting of the DCMS eAccessibility Forum, and comments on this and other papers can be submitted before 14 September, via the Communications Review website:

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