Accessibility is the practice of making content and advertising that is available for all individuals to understand and enjoy, be that by providing options for subtitles, signing, audio descriptions or making changes to interactivity settings or design formats.
Access services in advertising are available on all linear TV and each major TV company in the UK is committed to improving the accessibility of their on-demand streaming services as the technology continues to develop across different platforms and devices.
TV has long been recognised as the most effective medium when it comes shaping opinions, influencing cultural norms, and creating societal change.
Here are a few examples of how the TV companies have been supporting the drive to make TV advertising and content accessible for all.
Accessibility themed ad breaks
In 2021 Channel 4, in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), teamed up with Airbnb, BT Broadband, Experian, P&G and Virgin Media to create a multi-brand ‘Audio Description (AD) Ad-Break’ takeover to demonstrate the importance of providing an additional commentary that verbally explains what’s happening on screen.
The campaign was designed to highlight the importance of AD by raising awareness of its availability for blind and partially sighted audiences. Plus, it helped encourage other brands to increase the number of ads they made with AD to support viewers with sight loss.
Channel 4 Audio Described Ad Break
As part of Deaf Awareness Week in May 2023, ITV worked with advertising partners, including Cadburys, Aldi, Boots Hearingcare, McCain's and HSL, to create a very special silent ad-break. The takeover emulated the deaf experience by presenting all viewers with silent TV adverts, providing captions and sign language interpretation instead of sound to make the ads accessible and to highlight the value of these access services.