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Change that No. 10 subtitling petition please!

The Number 10 petition for subtitles has landed in my inbox more than once over the past couple of weeks. I've been meaning to blog about this a few times, but I'm so frustrated. Here's the wording:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Make all digital TV channels add Subtitles to all TV programmes.

I haven't signed it, because it annoys me. Its not the fact I don't agree in principle, because I do. Just this hasn't been thought out properly.

First, the deadline date is 2008! One whole year until we get a reply from Downing Street. A year is a long time in the grand scheme of things, and way too long to reap the benefits of a couple of hundred more names. Generate buzz, and get a shorter around time please! I'm going to lose interest. The other thing, the rate the internet is evolving is a long time (see the next paragraph as to why this point is relevant). For example, third party sites offering video hosting has only been around less than 18 months, now look where we're at.

The second frustration of mine is around broadcasting of media, and how this is going to change. Traditionally, television has had to seek a compromise and broadcasting content somewhere in the middle to take into account a wider range of interests. Specialist interests, e.g. specialist legal programmes, a programme on mosaics would not reach the screens. However, mass produced and compromise TV is at the end of the road. Increasingly people are spending their time watching sites such as YouTube, and going for niche content. Content that they are really interested in, but not everyone will want to watch.

Everyone, apart from those who can't access content in the first place of course! Who is campaigning for subtitling on internet broadcast media, especially from public services such as the BBC? Will there be any obligation? I'm not exactly optimistic about this, since the BBC Shop produces a lot of content that is not accessible.

The BBC recently struck a deal with YouTube, thus where's the regulation that subtitles to be included? Has the BBC put this as a contractual obligation in its deal with Google? Or will videos be uploaded by individuals, and the BBC just reaps monetary reward for non accessibility? What about 4oD, Channel 4's on demand service?

Media is now much bigger than it once was, and this petition is so narrow in scope it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. Before such petitions are created, there really needs to be some thought and consensus behind them. This petition is nothing but a complete wasted opportunity, and with it arises immense frustration.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Change that No. 10 subtitling petition please!:

» Petition for Interpreters in Legal Proceedings from Grumpy Old Deafies
A Number 10 petition petition has been set up around the use of accredited and professional interpreters in legal proceedings. This isn't limited to BSL, but other languages too: We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ensure that accredited... [Read More]

» Vlogging grows, where's the subtitles? from Noesis
Valleywag picks up on some statistics from Meefeedia, on the growth of vlogs. Deaf vlogs are a bit behind this, and I give a history in this post. With the growth of vlogging, I have one question: where is the... [Read More]

Comments (1)

The BBC iPlayer will apparently retain or reformat captioning, audio description, and/or sign language if present in the original broadcast version.

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