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TV news to get real-time subtitling

Dated: 27 September 2006

Television viewers will soon benefit from the introduction of subtitles on news bulletins when MediaCorp –with the support of the Media Development Authority (MDA) –rolls out a subtitling service on its English, Chinese and Malay news bulletins by year-end.

Subtitling refers to the reproduction of prepared scripts superimposed on the TV screen as read by the presenters. With this service, news scripts for packaged stories will appear as subtitles on the TV screen at a speed synchronized with the presenter’s delivery of the script.

The decision to provide subtitling for news bulletins was made earlier this year following requests from the general public and the hearing impaired. Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, lauds this initiative. He says, “This is a significant step of providing better access to information to the hearing impaired. Now they can, like most of us, get to enjoy the news and keep up to speed with the latest local and global happenings. This is an example of how the government, industry players and various stakeholders can work together to improve the long term well-being of persons with disabilities.”

The subtitling service will be launched in two phases: English news at 9.30pm on Channel 5 on 2 October 2006;Chinese news at 10pm on Channel 8 and Malay news at 8pm on Suria in December 2006.

With more than 650,000 viewers tuning into these three news bulletins daily, the subtitling service is expected to benefit not just the deaf and the elderly, but also the general public. Channel 5's 9.30pm English news bulletin is also simulcast on TVMobile which reaches more than one million commuters daily.

Dr Christopher Chia, Chief Executive Officer, Media Development Authority (MDA), says, “We are pleased to be working with MediaCorp to introduce this public service initiative. By making news accessible to a larger audience, we hope that this will contribute, in no small way, towards fostering an inclusive society.""

Mr Lucas Chow, Chief Executive Officer, MediaCorp, adds, “As a media conglomerate, we are glad that we can use our various platforms to help viewers with hearing loss. We will continue to provide services to benefit the community.”

Mrs Jenny Ho, executive director, Singapore Association for the Deaf, welcomes this initiative. She says, “With subtitling, the deaf will be able to understand the news read and be in tune with what’s happening. This improves their quality of life, facilitates independent living and helps to promote social integration. We are heartened that our request for subtitling has been considered and will soon be available. This is a positive step towards making the media more accessible to all segments of society.”

MDA and MediaCorp are still exploring options available in the market and tracking developments on systems which can effectively produce real-time Tamil subtitles for introduction on Vasantham Central’s news bulletin.

Following the roll-out of the subtitling system, MDA and MediaCorp will monitor public feedback on the service and make improvements to the system to ensure that it meets community needs. This project is to run for three years in the first instance.

Issued jointly by Group Communications, MediaCorp and Communications Division, Media Development Authority of Singapore.

For more information, please contact:

Genevieve Woo
Vice President
Group Communications
Tel: (65) 63 575 656
Fax: (65) 62 515 628

Additional information

Media Development Authority of Singapore
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) was formed on 1 January 2003 to champion Media 21, a blueprint to transform Singapore into a global media city. Media 21 seeks to create a vibrant media environment by establishing Singapore as a media exchange, exporting Made-by-Singapore content, internationalising local media companies, nurturing local media talent and developing digital media. More information on MDA can be found on

With 70 years of radio (1936) and 43 years of television (1963) experience, MediaCorp features prominently in the development of Singapore's broadcasting history.

As Singapore’s largest broadcaster and one of the region’s most renowned broadcasters, MediaCorp offers a complete range of media businesses: TV, Radio, Entertainment Productions, Movie Productions, Newspapers, Magazines, Electronic Media and other broadcasting services. MediaCorp’s vision is to become one of Asia’s top media companies by delivering valued content to the world.

For more information, please visit

On the Deaf in Singapore
Singapore’s Deaf, as defined by the Singapore Association for the Deaf’s (SADeaf) Constitution, includes those with hearing disabilities and who are hard of hearing.

The SADeaf has 5,450 registered members as at 31 March 2006. The exact number of people in Singapore who are deaf (whether partially or profoundly) is however not known. 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 born in Singapore have a degree of hearing loss, almost 20,000 Singaporeans may have hearing loss (based on Singapore’s population in 2005).