Channel 4 failed Ofcom’s access services quota in 2021 when back-up systems failed after a major incident at its playout centre.
Viewers were left without subtitles, audio description and in-vision signing for weeks.
Today, Channel 4 reaffirmed its commitment as it prepared to deliver 86 hours of access service-supported coverage of the 2022 Paralympic Games.
Jonathan Allan, Chief Operating Officer, Channel 4 said that the broadcaster “always delivered a greater range of programmes with access services provision than required by regulation. He added: “While Channel 4 did exceed the regulatory targets set by Ofcom, we would like to apologise once again to everyone who was affected by the severe technology incident at the end of last year that affected our services.”
In fact, Ofcom found Channel 4 did fall short of its regulatory quota in 2021. That’s because the broadcaster failed to restore subtitles to Freesat as quickly as other platforms. The incident happened in September, not the end of the year. Fire suppression systems destroyed servers at the Red Bee playout centre on 25th September, knocking TV services off-air.
Ofcom has launched an investigation on what went wrong. Channel 5 was also affected, but its back-up systems enabled it to restore services more quickly.
What Channel 4 is doing to improve access services
Channel 4 confirmed it will return to 100% subtitles across all linear channels.
It commits to achieving 100% subtitles on All 4 by the end of the year.
It will increase signing from 5% to 10% of programmes on Channel 4 and E4.
The number of programmes with Audio Description will increase to 45% across its linear channels.
More of All 4’s box sets will have Audio Description and signing.