Delay to introduction of audio description services on digital terrestrial television

28th September 1999

The ITC has agreed to a delay of up to six months to the introduction of audio description services on Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) on the basis of information received from ONdigital (on behalf of The Digital Network), who have been working together with the Royal National Institute from the Blind (RNIB) on the production of the plug-in modules required to enable reception of audio description. The ITC understands that these modules will now not be available in time for the launch of audio description in November 1999.

The delay will be offered on the condition that any provision lost is made up before November 2001. This is a similar formula adopted for the delay in the introduction of sign language provision on DTT.

The ITC has additionally requested that proposals for a trial service of the audio description service be established as soon as possible in order to ensure the reliable introduction of the service.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Broadcasting Act 1996 requires that 10 per cent of programmes per week should be accompanied by audio description by the tenth anniversary of the introduction of each DTT service.
  2. The ITC has set interim targets to ensure steady progress towards this requirement. The first of these should have commenced in November 1999 and would apply to broadcasters who launched DTT services in November 1998. This six month delay is granted on the condition that the provision lost is made up before the second interim target is expected in November 2001.