This document summarises the outcome of a review of television access services (subtitling, signing and audio description) that Ofcom consulted on in September 2009.
The Communications Act 2003 ('the Act') requires Ofcom to publish and from time to time review and revise a Code setting out how television services should promote the understanding and enjoyment of television by people who have hearing or visual impairments, or who have a dual sensory impairment ('deafblind').
The Act prescribes targets for television services to subtitle 80% (or 90% in the cases of Channels 3 and 4), sign 5% and audio describe 10% of all programmes (except those excluded by Ofcom) by the tenth anniversary of the relevant date for each channel, as well as a subtitling target to be reached by the fifth anniversary (60%).
It also requires Ofcom to draw up and from time to time review a code giving guidance on the application of and exclusions from these targets. More detail on relevant statutory duties applying to Ofcom under the Act is given in section 2.
To reflect these requirements, Ofcom published the Code on Television Access Services ('the Code') in July 2004, and conducted the first review of the Code in 2006. We considered that changes to the access service landscape and to the economic climate since 2006 made 2009 an appropriate time to conduct a further review of the Code.