Britbox lets down hard-of-hearing viewers


Action on Hearing Loss has been left disappointed in the BBC and ITV after their latest on-demand service, Britbox fails to include subtitles on half of their channels.

The broadcasters received a flurry of complaints from elderly and deaf customers who have brought a subscription, only to discover they were unable to watch many of their favourite shows.

Dr Roger Wicks, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Action on Hearing Loss, said: "It's really disappointing that new on-demand services are being launched without any apparent consideration for the 12 million people in the UK living with deafness and hearing loss."

Britbox has claimed that they will be acting on this as soon as possible. However, hard-of-hearing viewers are feeling like second rate customers and threatening to cancel their subscriptions.

Action on Hearing Loss has been tirelessly campaigning to end the digital exclusion of those who rely on subtitles. They had some success in 2017 when the Government was given the power to set mandatory subtitle quotas for on-demand providers.

Since then, the regulator, Ofcom has come forward with clear recommendations; however, there has been no progress from the Government to implement it.

"The fact that new streaming services are launching without good subtitled provision is a clear demonstration of why real action needs to be taken," added Dr Roger Wicks,

"While we wait for these quotas to be put in place, we hope that Britbox and other services get ahead of the game and do the right thing by the millions of people currently unable to enjoy the same cultural touchstones as their hearing peers."

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