Ofcom fines ESPN inadequate audio description services

Media regulator Ofcom has fined ESPN £120,000 for failing to provide sufficient levels of audio description services with its programming.

Under Ofcom’s Code on Television Access Services, broadcasters have to meet annual targets on the amount of their programming which includes subtitling, signing and audio description services.

Following investigation in 2013, Ofcom found ESPN (Europe, Middle East, Africa), the licensee for the ESPN channel now controlled by BT, had breached the Television Access Service Code.

The breach related to it failing to reach its target for the provision of audio description on the ESPN channel. The licensee only provided audio description on ESPN on 2.3 per cent of its programming, against a target of 5 per cent, meaning over 2012 visually impaired viewers had been excluded from 2.7 per cent of the channel’s relevant content.

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