Subtitles on BBC iPlayer Update
As we seek to engage with our audiences in new ways, and through new technologies, it incredibly important that the BBC does not leave disabled and elderly people behind as we design, engineer and architect the digital future.
Firstly, I'm sorry for not communicating about this more regularly.
This is not because the BBC "doesn't care" about deaf people's needs, as some users of the iPlayer messageboard have said, but because of the complexities of getting broadcast TV subtitles online.
After the launch of subtitles for streamed content back in June, we have been constantly working on improving our production processes and technologies - in partnership with our broadcast partner - to steadily improve the amount of programmes on iPlayer with subtitles.
I hope that you may have noticed an improvement in the number of pre-recorded programmes on iPlayer with subtitles recently, since we rolled out a technology update in our subtitling workflow a few weeks ago. This increased the amount of programmes with subtitles on the site by approximately 25%.
However, this still isn't good enough, especially because it leaves our users unaware of which programmes are likely to have subtitles for reasons they shouldn't need to understand.
So the main thrust of our work in improving the amount of subtitles on iPlayer is still to come. We are currently in the last stages of developing and testing new workflows to make subtitles available for two more categories of programme: live programmes, and time-sensitive programmes which tend to change hours before transmission, and so have subtitles produced sometimes minutes before broadcast.
These should significantly increase the number of iPlayer programmes with subtitles, and are a key element of our plans to get as much of the 100% of programmes across the main TV channels which are subtitled available online as is technically and practically possible.
Once these workflows are finalised and operational, I'll let you know.
Jonathan Hassell is Head of Audience Experience & Usability.