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Trouble-Hit TV Company Says Sorry To Deaf And Blind Viewers For Faults

October 4, 2021

The company at the centre of a string of faults with TV broadcasts over the past week has said sorry to deaf and blind viewers as issues continue to affect subtitles and audio description.

Red Bee Media said it understands “the challenges” viewers are facing.

“We share your frustration and are working tirelessly towards a solution,” it said in a statement on Twitter.

The company handles playout services and broadcasting technology for a number of channels.

The problems began on Saturday, caused by an “activation of the fire suppression systems” at the company’s headquarters in London, it said.

Channel 4 has had particular issues, with the BBC and Channel 5 also are among those affected.

On Thursday, the technical problems meant E4 was forced to repeat the previous night’s episode of Married At First Sight instead of playing the series finale.

“We are very aware that there continue to be problems with providing subtitles on some of our customers’ programmes, and we understand the challenges this creates for deaf and hard of hearing viewers, as well as for other people who are reliant on the service,” Red Bee Media said.

“Our audio description services are also being affected on some programmes and this is causing challenges to blind and visually impaired viewers.”

They that they were doing “everything in our power to resolve” the issues.

‘A massive hassle’

In response, one viewer posted: “As a deaf person, I had to stop watching Channel 4 because there’s no point as I can’t read any subtitles to enjoy anything.

“It’s a massive hassle that we all have to wait for normal services to resume. Hope your subtitles will be available on catch up for the TV shows we missed.”

The Times suggested the problems arose when smoke was detected at Red Bee’s headquarters and the fire suppression system sucked all the oxygen out of one room. That caused a “sonic wave” that shut down the transmission servers, the newspaper reported.

Several channels were taken off air as a result on Saturday. A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “We’re working hard to resume our normal services and appreciate your continued understanding.”

The last episode of Married at First Sight will be broadcast on E4 on Friday, a day later than planned.

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