Statement - Television channels required to provide television access services in 2013
A statement listing the television channels required to provide access services (subtitling, signing and audio description) in 2013.
1.1 The Communications Act 2003 required Ofcom to publish a code setting out the obligations of television channels licensed in the UK to provide television access services. Following consultation, Ofcom published the Ofcom Code on Television Access Services (the Code) in July 2004, together with an explanatory statement setting out the channels that would be required to provide such services in the following year. A copy of the current version of the Code, incorporating amendments made since the Code was first published, can be found at http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/broadcast-codes/tv-access-services/code-tv-access-services-2013/.
1.2 The Code also provides for a mid-year review of the audience share and revenues of UK-licensed television channels, based on data for the previous year. The purposes of the review are to establish whether, in the next calendar year, channels should be:
a) required to provide television access services;
b) required to meet a different Level of provision; or
c) excluded from the requirement to provide television access services.
1.3 The statutory targets for broadcasters are expressed as percentages of the service. They rise from a low level to the ten-year targets prescribed by the Act that is 80% for subtitling, 5% for signing and 10% for audio description. In the case of Channel 3 and Channel 4, the relevant target for subtitling is 90% and for the BBC (excluding BBC Parliament which has no obligation to provide) it is 100%.
1.4 Ofcom has used the cost of providing access services to calculate three levels of provision we apply to relevant channels:
a) Level One equates to the full current annual targets for subtitling, signing and audio description, as well as any alternative requirements;
b) Level Two equates to 66% of the current annual target for subtitling, as well as 100% of the targets for signing and audio description, and any alternative requirements; and
c) Level Three equates to 33% of the current annual target for subtitling, as well as 100% of the targets for signing and audio description and any alternative requirements.
1.5 The outcome of the review is summarised in the table annexed to this statement. In brief:
a) 70 channels will be required to provide television access services in 2013, as compared to 69 during 2012. Channels providing access services continue to account for over 90% of UK audience share. Six channels that had no obligation to provide access services in 2012 will be required to provide access services in 2013. These are Quest, owned by Discovery; Comedy Central Extra, owned by Paramount; Really owned by UKTV; MTV Hits owned by MTV and Sky Atlantic and Sky Living Loves owned by BSkyB;
b) 64 channels will be required to provide access services at Level One during 2013, as compared with 62 in 2012. Four channels will be required to provide access services at Level Two during 2013 and two channels will be required to provide access services at Level Three. Subtitling targets will be at 70% or higher for the majority of channels in 2013, with audio description at the maximum level of 10% for most.
c) over 30 timeshifted services (e.g. ITV2 + 1) and simulcast HD services (e.g.ITV1 HD) are also required to provide access services; and
d) five channels that had an obligation to provide access services this year will no longer be obliged to provide such services in 2013. This is either because they no longer meet the audience share threshold or because the cost of doing so is in excess of 1% of the channels relevant turnover. These are Sky Movies Classic, owned by BSkyB; Blighty, owned by UKTV; National Geographic, owned by NGC Europe ltd and Discovery History and Discovery Real Time, owned by Discovery. Although these channels will no longer be required to provide access services under the Code, as is common practice, access services provision may continue on a voluntary basis.
1.6 The statutory target for audio description is 10% from the tenth anniversary of the relevant date (normally the date on which a channel started broadcasting). However, ITV plc voluntarily committed to achieving at least a 20% level of audio description across its programmes from the end of 2010 and Channel 4 agreed to audio describe at least 20% of their programming on channels required to provide this from January 2011. Sky have also agreed to audio describe 20% of programming on all relevant Sky channels, on a voluntary basis, with the exception of their sports channels. The BBC has increased its target for audio description to 20% of transmission hours of non-excluded programming in 2% annual increments from 2011 onwards.
1.7 A copy of this document in a format suitable for use by screen readers has been posted on Ofcoms website. Ofcom can also provide documents to individuals in alternative formats (e.g. Braille, audiotape or large print) on request. We may also provide translations of documents into languages other than English. To request non-standard versions of documents, please contact the Ofcom Contact Centre at mailto:email@example.com, by phone on 0300 123 3000, or by textphone at 0845 456 3043. Please note that the time needed to produce an alternative format document will depend on the length of the document.
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