Ofcom today published its first report on the quality of live TV subtitles provided by broadcasters in the UK, looking at the accuracy, speed and latency (delay between speech and the subtitle appearing) of live subtitles.
Subtitles are used by over a million people with hearing impairments to watch TV. Addressing concerns from viewers, Ofcom asked broadcasters last year to start reporting on the quality of live subtitles to identify areas for improvement.
Samples of BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky programmes showed that the median latency (delay between speech and subtitle appearing) was 5.6 seconds, which nearly doubles the recommended guideline of a maximum 3 seconds delay.
Viewers have told Ofcom that poor latency is one of the most frustrating aspects of live subtitling, often resulting in a disjointed viewing experience.
Ofcom has said it will ask broadcasters to consider how latency can be reduced.
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