ITVX announces ground-breaking sign language channel

When ITVX launches on 8 December, deaf viewers will have access to what is a worldwide streaming first – a British Sign Language channel. The new service will solely feature signed programming, including shows like the Emmerdale and Coronation Street omnibus episodes, Cilla, Alan Carr’s Epic Gameshow, Vera, Lewis, and The Saint. The channel will be regularly updated and will evolve to include both recent and archive programming from a wide variety of genres. 

James Padmore

ITV’s director of accessibility, David Padmore, said: “We’re committed to placing great accessibility at the heart of ITVX and our offering at launch represents significant progress. This is a fantastic platform for showcasing our signed programmes.”

Teri Devine, Associate Director for Inclusion at RNID, added: “We’re thrilled that ITV has considered the accessibility of BSL users for the launch of their new channel feature, making it easier for them to find new signed content. Building in accessibility from the start is important and should be the norm, and we look forward to seeing ITV expanding its access services across the remaining platforms.”

ITV says accessibility is a core principle of its new streaming service, and teams across ITV have worked to ensure the brand, design and user interfaces are accessible and that they support assistive technology such as screen readers. ITV is committed to continuing to improve the inclusive design as ITVX evolves.

ITVX will offer over 10,000 hours of programming at launch, and a big priority has been subtitling and audio-describing this rich selection of programming. ITVX will have subtitles for over 90% of on-demand programmes on every platform and device. For live TV watched through ITVX, subtitles will be available to around 80% of viewers.

Audio description is available for 20% of programmes on the platform at launch, including all new ITV drama, with platforms prioritised in consultation with the RNIB.

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