HC Deb 11 July 2002 vol 388 c1189W
Paul Holmes

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if it is her policy that the forthcoming communications legislation will have the power to ensure that video on demand and other forms of developing television are covered by the requirement to carry subtitles and other ancillary services. [66251]

Dr. Howells

No. The draft Communications Bill extends obligations for the provision of subtitling, sign language and audio-description services from terrestrial broadcasters to all licensed broadcasters. It is not proposed to extend them to other media unless such media were brought into the licensing regime by order, having met the criteria set out in the Bill for licensable television services. Under the Bill as drafted, true video on demand would not be licensable and, therefore, would not have legal obligations for subtitling any more than on-demand services provided over the Internet. It would be for those who provide such services to decide whether to offer ancillary services for viewers with disabilities.