The regulator's "access services" mandate, issued last July, dictates that 70 UK channels will have to provide on-screen subtitling, signing and extra soundtracks over the next decade, ranging from a quarter of programming for Fox Kids to all BBC1 and BBC2 output ( Broadcast, 30.7.04).
And while IMS brought in£6.5m of business last year providing these services, the figure was a million shy of IMS' 2004 market expectations. The company has attributed this to broadcasters being slower than anticipated in agreeing to Ofcom's ruling.
"We expected the Ofcom business to come through at the end of last year and it hasn't. Broadcasters aren't making decisions as quickly as we thought they would," said IMS managing director Mark Robinson.
Robinson is now targeting France where there is a strong likelihood that domestic legislation will force all channels to provide high levels of subtitling. Other European countries may follow suit.
IMS has resolved to open an office in France by the end of summer. Expansion into other areas of Europe is more likely to be demand driven.