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Accessibility and video on-demand streaming services

Disabled viewers are being left behind by the video on-demand streaming revolution.

Inclusive League Table

Our Inclusive League Table compares the most popular UK video streaming services and the services they provide for their disabled customers. We looked at both the web accessibility standards of each streaming service and the percentage of accessible content available.

Each streaming service has been awarded a score out of 10 to reflect how inclusive their services are of disabled customers.

What we rank on

Audio Description
Closed Captions
Website Accessibility
Read our Inclusive League Table methodology

League table

Brand Score Where they do well Needs improvement
BrandDisney+ Score7.5 Where they do well Where they need improvement

Good scores on all categories.

BrandBBC iPlayer Score7.0 Where they do well Where they need improvement
BrandITV Hub Score6.8 Where they do well Where they need improvement

Good scores on all categories.

BrandAll 4 Score6.6 Where they do well Where they need improvement

Good scores on all categories.

BrandAmazon Prime Video Score5.9 Where they do well Where they need improvement
BrandNetflix Score5.8 Where they do well Where they need improvement
BrandBritBox Score4.7 Where they do well Where they need improvement
BrandSkyGo Score2.6 Where they do well Where they need improvement
BrandMy5 Score2.4 Where they do well

Needs improvement on all categories.

Where they need improvement
BrandNOW TV Score2.4 Where they do well

Needs improvement on all categories.

Where they need improvement
BrandGoogle Play Score2.0 Where they do well

Needs improvement on all categories.

Where they need improvement
BrandSky Store Score0.0 Where they do well

Needs improvement on all categories.

Where they need improvement

Summary

Disabled viewers are being left behind by the video on-demand streaming revolution.

More people watch their favourite shows online than ever before. But many streaming services are still behind when it comes to making services and shows accessible for disabled people.

Our online survey of more than 3,000 disabled consumers suggests that disabled people are still being massively underserved by these services.

80% of survey respondents said they experienced accessibility issues with online streaming. That’s four in five disabled people experiencing accessibility issues with video on-demand services.

Missing out on the latest TV series or film is about more than just missing out on the content. It’s about being excluded from the wider conversation.

While there’s no current legal requirement for video on-demand (including catch-up) services to provide access services or stick to web accessibility standards, we think they should be doing better.

We wanted to learn about the accessibility issues that prevent people from enjoying online video streaming. We also wanted to hear about the emotional impact of missing out, and how that affects spending decisions.

Hear what disabled people are saying about online video streaming in our roundup of The Big Hack video streaming survey.

20% of disabled people have cancelled a streaming service subscription because of accessibility issues.

Often with paid subscription services, companies do not disclose how much of their content is subtitled or audio-described.

For people with access requirements, there’s no way of knowing how many TV programmes or films they will actually be able to enjoy before they sign up and pay.

And when less accessible content is available, it means disabled people end up paying more for a worse service. For example, people who rely on audio description are still required to pay 100% of the subscription fee, even if just 8% of the content is accessible to them.

Have you ever cancelled a subscription, or stopped using a video streaming service, because of accessibility issues?

When this happens, I don’t feel motivated to look for other content. Instead I use a different streaming provider who can accommodate my needs. Especially if I’m paying to use that streaming service!

The emotional cost

66% of users feel either frustrated, let down, excluded or upset by inaccessible entertainment.

 

To examine the emotional cost of being excluded from the on-demand video streaming revolution, we asked survey respondents how it makes them feel when a TV programme or film is not accessible to them.*

* Respondents could select multiple answers.

How does it make you feel when a TV programme or film is not accessible to you?

The lack of subtitling is shocking on streaming TV services. There’s absolutely no excuse for dropping subtitles. As a young mother with hearing difficulties, I find it extremely hard to catch up on my favourite programmes.

Main issues that concern disabled viewers

Issues range from inaccessible content to inaccessible technology and design. TV shows and films can be inaccessible for a number of reasons, through lack of access services like captions, for example.

But content can also be inaccessible if it contains flashing lights or triggering imagery.

Which accessibility issues have you experienced with on-demand streaming services?

“My whole family miss out because of me.”

What are some of the issues within accessibility and video on-demand streaming services we hear again and again?

Get support from Scope's experts

Scope are improving the internet for people with access requirements, and we know that it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why as part of the Big Hack, Scope’s experts can support you to make your customer offer, and your workplace, accessible.

Services we offer:

  • An audit of your digital products
  • Training on best practice accessibility
  • Access to our panel of disabled testers
  • Expert support in making your workplace accessible

If you’d like to find out more, then please email BigHack@scope.org.uk with your contact details.