ITV Player, Twitter and sweeping accessibility issues under the carpet

The week before last (17 October 2012) ITV/Sky (don’t know who’s to blame) had a major blip and the subtitles on the second episode of DCI Banks were completely borked: the subtitles from the previous show (Celebrity Mr & Mrs) displayed while the characters from DCI Banks were speaking. Bewildering and comical yes, but not terribly useful for those of us who have followed the series and you know, would actually like to know who shot Allan Banks.

Here’s what viewers with subtitles saw:

The programme opens with DCI Banks at his parents’ house having told them about the death of their other son, his estranged brother, Roy.

DCI Banks is stood at the bay window, looking out on the street. Mr & Mrs Banks are sat on the sofa, holding hands. Sad music is playing in the background.

Mrs Banks: Abba?
DCI Banks: Yes, that’s the trick!
Mr Banks: What trick?
DCI Banks: The trick to a long and happy marriage!
Mrs Banks: Dancing Queen every night!
DCI Banks walks to the armchair and sits down.
DCI Banks: There’s nowt that can’t be fixed by listening to Abba!
Mrs Banks (interrupting): Dancing Queen!

At least it was more amusing than the gibberish output by YouTube captioning (but that’s a whole other story!).

Having now watched the show with the real subtitles, here’s what really happened…

The programme opens with DCI Banks at his parents’ house having told them about the death of their other son, his estranged brother, Roy.

DCI Banks is stood at the bay window, looking out on the street. Mr & Mrs Banks are sat on the sofa, holding hands. Sad music is playing in the background.

Mrs Banks: Why?
DCI Banks: I don’t know.
Mr Banks: By who?
DCI Banks: I don’t know.
Mrs Banks: Well you’d better get out there and bloody well find out.
DCI Banks walks to the armchair and sits down.
DCI Banks: I can’t be involved in an investigation into my own brother’s-
Mrs Banks (interrupting): Yes you can. You’re the boss. I thought you were the boss.

So! Having seen that the subtitles on ITV Player are better than those on the television, I decided to watch episode 3 online…

…except that episode 3 doesn’t have subtitles. Is this a mistake? Is there a delay before subtitles are added? Let’s have a look on Twitter.

ITV have a number of Twitter accounts so I found the one that presumably deals specifically with ITV Player issues (@ITVPlayer) and asked them why there were no subtitles. Unfortunately, 140 characters doesn’t leave much room for niceties, especially when you need to include a link to the problem page so my tweet was short:

@itvplayer Why are there no subtitles on latest episode of DCI Banks? http://www.itv.com/itvplayer/video/?Filter=326961

I’ve not yet had a reply from @ITVPlayer but noticed that the last tweet from that user account was on 24 October. Won’t be holding my breath then.

In the meantime a helpful DCI Banks fan (@DCI_Banks_TV) suggested that tweeting @ITVPlayer was a bit of a lost cause and that I should instead email:

Suggest you send email to viewerservices@itv.com. Doubt they read Tweets. MT @daisytoo: Why…no subtitles on latest episode of DCI Banks?

I’m happy to email ITV but this is yet another example of a television company not wanting to discuss subtitles, captioning and other accessibility issues out in the open on Twitter.

@DCI_Banks_TV Thanks, I might try an email but a shame that yet another tv company want to hide accessibility issues /cc @itvplayer

[The Twitter exchange so far is recorded here on Storify.]

I’ve just emailed ITV viewer services, will upate this post if and when I get a reply.

Update – 29 October 2012

Just received an email from ITV Customer Support:

We are aware of this issue with DCI Banks.

Our technical team are investigating this and we hope to make the subtitles available to you as soon as possible.

I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.

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