Deaf people have until 5pm on MONDAY to tell Ofcom whether they want more funding for TV programmes in BSL

Posted on September 19, 2014



On Wednesday, we posted a See Hear interview with Ofcom’s Peter Bourton about the new consultation for sign language programmes on TV (there are subtitled and signed versions).

Ofcom are asking Deaf people 6 questions, and depending on the response, the amount of funding given to make programmes in BSL (via the BSL Zone) could increase.

But Deaf people only have until 5pm on MONDAY to respond and tell them what they want.

You can find more information, including a BSL summary, at this link: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/review-signing-arrangements-tv/.

You can read the full consultation at this link: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/review-signing-arrangements-tv/summary/condoc.pdf

And then you can fill in your responses and submit them online at this link: https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/review-signing-arrangements-tv/howtorespond/form

Ofcom are asking 6 questions. Here they are, with a short explanation of what each means:

Question 1:Do you agree that it would be appropriate to increase the minimum contributions to alternative signing arrangements to bring them back to the 2007 level in real terms, and to make annual adjustments for inflation thereafter? If not, why not? 

Since the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust (BSLBT) was set up, a number of TV channels have paid £20,000 each to the BSLBT to fund the production of programmes shown on the BSL Zone (including dramas like The End, and programmes like The Hub or Punk Chef).

That amount hasn’t increased with inflation, which means the money doesn’t go as far as it did 5 years ago, and Ofcom are asking if the £20,000 should be adjusted to take into account inflation since 2007, and then whether, each year, the amount should rise in line with inflation.

What do you think?

Question 2:Do you agree that it would not be appropriate to base adjustments to the minimum level of contributions to alternative arrangements on comparisons with the costs of existing sign-presented programmes, or with general TV production costs? If not, why not?

There are so few signed TV programmes out there that it may be misleading to use the cost of producing See Hear, for example, as a guide to how much the TV channels should pay towards the production of TV programmes in BSL.

 

It may also be misleading to use mainstream programmes as a guide – because they don’t have to consider access costs such as subtitling or sign language support during production of those programmes.

Ofcom is asking whether you agree or not.

Question 3: Do you agree that it would be appropriate to make annual adjustments to the minimum contributions to alternative arrangements in line with the Consumer Price Index, and to make consequential change to the Guidance, as set out in Annex 4? If not, why not? 

Should the increase in the amount the channels pay be linked to the Consumer Price Index, which charts the cost of goods we buy in the shops?

This index is widely used to calculate inflation for a lot of other things – such as benefits.

What do you think?

Question 4: Do you consider that minimum signing requirements for relevant channels should remain fixed at 30 minutes a month or should rise progressively over a ten year period to 75 minutes a month? If the latter, do you agree that consequential changes should be made to the Code, as set out in Annex 4? Please explain the reasons for your preference.

The TV channels who would be affected by this consultation are currently required to provide 30 minutes a month of sign interpretation on their programmes.

However, this amount has stayed the same (while the amount of subtitling, for example, has increased) for the last 5 years.

Should the amount of sign language provision they are required to provide rise over time to 75 minutes a month?

What do you think? Is that enough?

Question 5: Do you consider that the transitional arrangements set out in Figure 4 would be appropriate if relevant channels are made subject to rising obligations? If so, do you agree that consequential changes should be made to the Code, as set out in Annex 4?

On p19 of the consultation document (which you can find here) there is a table (below) showing the increase in the amount of sign interpretation that some of the TV channels would be required to provide.

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 09.44.30

You can see the amount rising from 30 minutes a month (as it is currently) in 2015 to 75 minutes a month in 2018.

Do you think this is ok, or should the increase happen sooner than 2016?

Question 6: Do you consider that minimum contributions by relevant channels to alternative requirements should remain fixed at £20,000 a year (adjusted for inflation) or should rise progressively over a ten year period to £50,000 a year (also adjusted for inflation)? Please explain the reasons for your preference.

Ofcom is asking whether the amount the channels pay towards BSL TV programmes should stay as it is, which is £20,000 a year, or whether it should increase over time to £50,000.

More funding would mean more television programmes created in BSL.

What do you think?

Fill in your responses and submit them online at this link: https://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/review-signing-arrangements-tv/howtorespond/form

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