Following Love Film / Amazon’s commitment to subtitling their online video content, subtitle campaigners are turning their attention to Sky TV once again. Sky TV will be the only remaining provider out of the big three in the UK, including Netflix, not to provide subtitles on their online or on demand content.
Netflix have provided subtitles since losing a court battle in the United States and Amazon Prime, which took over Love Film, revealed they would follow suit after comedian Mark Thomas slapped embarrassing signs above the front door at Amazon’s London HQ earlier this month – that followed a popular online petition.
Earlier this year we reported how deaf teenager Jamie Danjoux from Newcastle launched his own online petition against Sky – the number of signatories on that petition has swelled to over 2,300 – and last night campaigners converged on Sky’s Facebook page after a customer posted a complaint.
Sky offers subtitles across many of their channels, including flagship channels Sky1 and Sky News. Subtitles are also available on the Sky Movie channels and on many Sky Sports channels too. Many other broadcasters on the platform, such as kids channel Nickelodeon, provide subtitles but many also do not.
Notable exceptions include the SyFy channel. SyFy have come under criticism for removing subtitles from shows that are available to download illegally with subtitles included. Apparently even pirates care about accessibility.
The Sky+ TV recording system will also automatically record subtitles if they were broadcast but the amount of programming that must be subtitled by any channel as it is broadcast is determined by Ofcom regulations and is proportionate to the share of viewers that the channel has – so there is no legal requirement for many of the channels available on Sky to subtitle their content.
However, the biggest source of frustrations about Sky do not come from the content that is broadcast but the content available on their heavily advertised On Demand and Sky Go platforms – none of which are subtitled.
Sky say they are working on the problem – but in recent responses have been been light on the detail and seen by deaf people as part of a fobbing-off exercise. Past reasons given by Sky have centred around issues of disc space available to store subtitles on the Sky receiver boxes, rather than the actual capability of the system.
That excuse was given short shrift by some campaigners as subtitle files are said to take up a tiny amount of memory in comparison to the many HD films Sky boxes can store. Until more information is released by Sky about what the technical issues really are and an idea of the time it will take to resolve them, it is likely that the pressure on them will grow and grow as paying deaf customers feel increasing frustration about their exclusion from Sky’s innovations. You can sign Jamie Danjoux’s petition here.
What you’re saying on social media
— Daniel Hogan (@Cheekidaniel) May 29, 2014
— Tony Sutton (@tony_sutton) May 29, 2014
In other developments, there was some good subtitle news delivered yesterday. BBC iPlayer now supports subtitles on downloads on the Android and iOS platforms.
— Henny (@iheni) May 28, 2014
And, for when the subtitles don’t work so well, BBC’s See hear will have a special on the Horror of online Subtitles in a couple of weeks.
— Samuel Dore (@Bursteardrum) May 28, 2014
By Andy Palmer, Deputy Editor.
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s independent deaf news and deaf blogs website, posting the very latest in deaf opinion, commentary and news, every weekday! Don’t forget to follow the site on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our supporters on the right-hand side of this site or click here.
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. How to make Live Automated Captions with Apple’s Latest 'Clips' App
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Cast Theatre, Doncaster: The UK's the UK’s first fully BSL integrated pantomime
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people