ESPN fined by UK regulator
| 24 May 2014
Ofcom has fined leading sports broadcaster ESPN £120,000 for failing to provide sufficient levels of audio description services with its programming.

Under Ofcom’s Code on Television Access Services broadcasters have to meet annual targets on the amount of their programming that includes subtitling, signing and audio description services. Following an investigation in 2013, Ofcom found ESPN (Europe, Middle East, Africa) Limited, the licensee for the ESPN channel now controlled by BT, had breached the Television Access Service Code.

The duty conferred on Ofcom under the Communications Act 2003 aims to ensure that people with sensory impairments who would otherwise be excluded from television content are able to enjoy such content so far as practical to the same extent as people without sensory impairments.

The breach related to it failing to reach its target for the provision of audio description on the ESPN channel. The licensee only provided audio description on ESPN on 2.3% of its programming, against a target of 5%, meaning over 2012 visually impaired viewers had been excluded from 2.7% of the channel’s relevant content. inShare0