Broadcasters are still failing to provide properly timed subtitles on live programming according to media regulator Ofcom which monitored programmes broadcast by BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky.
A report published by the regulator says across the 72 shows checked, the average delay between someone speaking and the corresponding subtitle appearing on screen was 5.8 seconds – almost double the recommended 3 seconds.
Just four of the programmes had a latency of less than 3 seconds, while one saw a delay of 21 seconds.
Ofcom says delayed subtitles have a negative impact on viewers who have to endure disjointed conversations.
It has welcomed the introduction of block subtitles in live programmes which allow several words to appear at once, and which are easier for viewers to read than scrolling subtitles.
Although it says the increased use of pre-recorded segments in live programmes enables more accurate and better timed subtitles, Ofcom says broadcasters can still do more to improve the viewing experience of subtitle users.
It wants broadcasters to ensure subtitles stay on screen long enough for viewers to read.
A further report will be published next year which will help inform a review of industry guidelines.