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We are excited that the Media Bill has continued its passage through the House of Commons and will now move onto the committee stage.
Thanks to the campaigning of our supporters, this Bill will make a real difference to deaf people and people with hearing loss, who will be able to access more subtitled and signed content on on-demand platforms.
We know that this is really important – 97% of people who filled out our 2023 Subtitle It! survey told us they had tried to watch a programme in the last year and found there were no subtitles, and we know this leads to people missing out on key moments with family, friends and in the workplace.
What does the Media Bill passing its second reading mean?
Rob Geaney, RNID’s Policy & Campaigns Lead, shares the latest on the Bill and how it impacts our Subtitle It! campaign:
“It has taken some time to get here but with unwavering support from our campaigns network, we are moving closer to the Media Bill becoming law and achieving our goal of making on-demand TV accessible for everyone.
Without subtitles, people who are deaf or have hearing loss are left out and left behind. Our 2023 Subtitle It survey highlighted the need for better access: 29% of respondents told us they felt excluded from conversations about programmes with friends and family when there were no subtitles. A further 17% missed out on conversations in the workplace, or with friends, because they had missed an episode when subtitles weren’t available.
Within four years of the Media Bill targets being enacted, on-demand broadcasters and service providers will have to subtitle 80% of their content and provide signing on 5%. There will also be an interim target in two years of 40% of content having subtitles and 2.5% being signed.
We welcome the parts of the Bill which will bring on-demand services in line with regular linear TV, as it will improve access to on-demand programming for deaf people and people with hearing loss, ensuring they can easily access subtitled and signed programmes in the way that best suits them.”
Lucy Frazer MP- Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said:
“The Bill will also require greater provision of subtitles, audio description and sign language. This will lead to a much improved service for millions of people living with a hearing loss or visual impairment when they watch or listen to television programmes on demand.”
The Bill has to go through further stages in Parliament before it becomes a law. We will continue to work with MPs to support the powers within the Bill, which sets minimum levels of subtitling and signing.
Outside of the Media Bill, we will continue to push on-demand service providers to increase the quantity and quality of subtitles and signing on their platforms.