BBC iPlayer Shows Captioned for UK Viewers Only

If you want to watch captioned BBC videos online, you may be in luck—if you live in England.

This week, Lipreading Mom contacted BBCNews.com regarding lack of captions with its Internet videos. Mark Barlex, editor with British Broadcasting Corporation’s OnDemandBBC, shared the reasoning for the delay in subtitling their online media: technology limitations (his response below).

Because BBC is headquartered in the United Kingdom and falls outside of the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s proposed Internet captioning requirements, it likely will require advocacy efforts with UK government to make lasting change.

One caveat: BBC iPlayer, which Barlex mentions in his response to Lipreading Mom, does subtitle most of its videos. However, when clicking on a video, the site reads: “Currently BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only.”

Why? The site wouldn’t answer my question, so I am following up with Barlex for his explanation. In the meantime, you can enjoy BBC iPlayer and its captions, but only if you live in the UK.

BBC Responds to Lipreading Mom

Thank you for your correspondence about subtitles on content on the BBCNews Website. At the moment we are not able to subtitle our on demand clip content onthe BBC News and Sport websites. This is because we do not yet have the technology to subtitle clips in the timescales or volumes required for news articles.

News and Sport programmes which appear in the BBC iPlayer should be available with subtitles – more than 90% of content in iPlayer is available with subtitles. This includes the main BBC One news bulletins.

So if you want to watch news content with subtitles, that is currently your best option. We hope that goes some way to answering your questions.

Yours sincerely,
Mark Barlex
Editor, On DemandBBC News

BBC.com Captions Should Be Available to All Viewers

Join the Lipreading Mom Internet Captions Campaign, and send a message to BBC that captions are a necessity for the millions of people worldwide living with hearing loss.

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