Ofcom wants broadcasters to consider delaying off-peak live shows to help reduce latency between subtitles and what is said on screen.
The regulator’s two-year study of live subtitles found that although the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky had made progress in delivering services for deaf viewers, latency remains “significantly” above Ofcom’s recommended maximum three-second delay.
According to Ofcom, average latency dropped from 5.7 seconds in April/May last year to 5.1 seconds in October/November.
Ofcom content and consumer group director Claudio Pollack said more needed to be done. “Broadcasters now need to explore new and innovative ways of consistently delivering high-quality subtitles to the millions of viewers who use them,” he said.
One proposal is for broadcasters to use the approach favoured in the Netherlands and Belgium by trialling short delays in live subtitled shows during off-peak times.
Ofcom will publish its final report on live subtitling in October.