Thursday, September 28, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | Singapore MediaCorp | To Subtitle TV News for the Hearing Impaired

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has heard from Singapore's MediaCorp that across its networks - Channels 5, 8 and Suria - from the end of this year there will be subtitling on news bulletins, in English, Chinese and Malay.

Help with this project is coming from the Media Development Authority as a service to those with impaired hearing.

MDA and MediaCorp meanwhile are still considering real-time subtitles in Tamil for introduction on "Vasantham Central" TV news.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News suggests that if you are a vendor of Tamil language subtitling software, there may be able to help in this project which we believe needs integration into MediaCorp's newsroom automation system.

Now, I wonder why it has taken so long for subtitling of the Singapore TV news bulletins. Other terrestrial TV broadcasters in the region have been doing so for a while.

The Singapore TV broadcasts are to be launched in two phases.

Channel 5 English news at 2130hrs starts on October 2 then Channel 8 Malay News at 2000hrs and Chinese News at 2200hrs, and Malay News on Suria Channel at 2000hrs will be from December.

MediaCorp says that more than 650,000 viewers tune into these main news bulletins daily.

Channel 5's 2130 English TV news bulletin is also simulcast on "TVMobile" which has the potential reach of more than one million commuters daily on public transport.

The decision to provide subtitling for news bulletins was made earlier this year following requests from the general public and the hearing impaired.

One of those requesting the subtitled TV news broadcasts, Jenny Ho, executive director, Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) said that subtitling improves the quality of life; facilitates independent living and helps to promote social integration for the hard of hearing.

The SADeaf estimates that there may be some 98,000 elderly people who suffer from varying degrees of hearing loss. In addition, based on the statistics that six out of every 1,000 births in Singapore show a degree of hearing loss means that 20,000 Singaporeans may have hearing loss (based on Singapore’s population in 2005).

Singapore's Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, lauds this initiative.

The MDA and MediaCorp TV news subtitling project is set to run for three years in the first instance.

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