ESPN fails audio description target

Sports broadcaster ESPN has fallen foul of Ofcom requirements regarding the provision of audio description, the service designed to make TV services accessible to visually impaired users. 

The news comes as part of Ofcom's latest report on Television Access Services, which looks at how TV channels have met targets regarding providing subtitles, in-vision signing and audio description to make TV more accessible.

In June 2012, Ofcom found ESPN in breach of the Ofcom Code on Television Access Services for failure to provide any audio description in 2011, despite a target of 3%. The shortfall was added to ESPN's audio description quota for 2012, but was found failing this target again.

Overall, many channels are now subtitling more than 70% of their content. A number of broadcasters have voluntarily committed to deliver 20% audio description on all or most of their channels. This includes ITV (in England & Wales), Channel 4, and Sky (with the exception of its sports channels) and the BBC who have committed to increase its audio description targets in 2% annual increments from 2011 onwards. According to the regulator, it is "also pleased to note that many other broadcasters have delivered significantly more audio description than they were required to do."

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