BBC introduces subtitles for BBC iPlayer live channels

BBC introduces subtitles for BBC iPlayer live channels

In a first for any major video on-demand service in the world, the BBC has begun trialling subtitles for live channels on BBC iPlayer. To date, subtitles have only been available for on-demand programmes.

The trial, currently available on PC and Mac computers* will allow deaf and hearing-impaired viewers to watch more BBC TV programmes wherever and whenever they want. The BBC will test and improve the feature over the coming months before it is rolled out to BBC iPlayer’s app for mobiles and tablets – and over time to Connected TVs.

With almost 2m programmes a day or 20% of all on-demand programmes watched using subtitles on BBC iPlayer – there is already huge demand for this feature to be extended to live content too.

“We welcome this breakthrough from the BBC, which is a huge step in the right direction for full accessibility for people who are deaf or have a hearing loss.”

Gareth Ford Williams, Head of Accessibility for the BBC said : “The BBC is already a world-leading provider of accessible services– but we know there is always more to do. We want to ensure our content and services are accessible to everyone – and this trial will give viewers who are deaf or hearing-impaired access to even more programming than ever before.”

Dr. Roger Wicks from Action on Hearing Loss said : “We welcome this breakthrough from the BBC, which is a huge step in the right direction for full accessibility for people who are deaf or have a hearing loss. Our Subtitle It! campaign has been working towards increasing online broadcasters’ use of subtitles on online content and we’re delighted that the BBC is leading the way by trialling this new feature.”

The trial subtitles are available on the following channels: BBC One HD, BBC One Northern Ireland (HD), BBC One Scotland (HD), BBC One Wales (HD), BBC Two (HD), BBC Four (HD), CBBC (HD), CBeebies (HD) and BBC News (HD)

For access to subtitles on BBC Two in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland click here or select England from the ‘Change location’ menu.

*Available on devices using the Flash version of the BBC Standard Media Player

About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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