OFCOM TO INVESTIGATE CHANNEL 4 AFTER SUBTITLES OUTAGE
On 25 September 2021, an incident at a broadcast centre run by Red Bee Media caused 'significant disruption' to several of Channel 4's operations, including access services. The incident was not fully resolved until 19 November 2021.
Despite the autumn outage, Channel 4 managed to meet a statutory requirement to subtitle 90% of its programme hours over 2021. This was achieved by largely overperforming outside of that period.
However, the outage caused Channel 4 to fall short of its subtitling quota on Freesat. Given the length of the outage, Ofcom has launched an investigation into Channel 4’s "under-provision of subtitles on the Freesat platform and the surrounding circumstances".
Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom’s Group Director for Broadcasting: "These problems caused deep upset and frustration among the millions of people who rely on subtitles, signing or audio description to enjoy TV...
"Channel 4 took several weeks to provide a clear, public plan and timeline for fixing the problems. As well as investigating Channel 4, we’re reviewing the wider effects of the outage to make sure broadcasters learn lessons and protect access services in future."
More details, including a BSL report, can be found here.