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A new MEGOGO channel that only broadcasts content with sign language

21 October 2016

Leading VOD/OTT service in Eastern Europe and CIS countries MEGOGO has launched an interactive channel Watch the Sound for people with hearing loss continuing its social project of the same name. The channel broadcasts content only with sign language translation.

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Major part of the content (about 70%) is aimed for children, the audience that has difficulties with subtitles perception. According it’s concept, Watch the Sound channel will stream cartoons and films for children till evening, when movies and TV-series for adults continue the programming, for example, Looper, Deception, Limitless, and American Hustle.

MEGOGO spokesperson shares that right’s owners and studious usually have no objections to sign language translation of their content. Therefore, users will be able to watch famous and legendary blockbusters in HD quality on the channel.

Sign language video addition is produced entirely on MEGOGO’s own studio, which has been launched more than 2 years ago, alongside with the special section called Watch the Sound. At the same time the company started to conduct regular theatrical screenings of cartoons for children with impaired hearing in Ukraine, Russia, the Baltics and the CIS countries. With the help of various partners young viewers get some gifts, treats and other entertainment in addition to the actual cartoon screening.

The new interactive channel Watch the Sound will be available as a part of MEGOGO Movies and TV subscription in Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and Turkmenistan.

Interactive channels created by MEGOGO are playlists of VOD-content, which look like usual TV channels to viewers, but allowing to watch any movie or TV-show from the program grid at any time, with pause and rewind options. As of today, more than 30 thematic channels are available to the viewers.

With the launch of Watch the Sound channel MEGOGO hopes to make watching movies and cartoons for viewers with hearing impairments more comfortable. “We try to add sign language option to each and every film, provided we have the rights to do so. The hearing impaired and people with hearing loss should have access to all content, as well as all our users. Now all our content is provided with subtitles, but that is not enough. There are those people who do not perceive text and they require a sign-language interpreter. Watch the Sound channel corresponds with international trends and practices to integrate people with hearing impairment into society”, – says Ivan Shestakov, marketing director at MEGOGO.

Director of “Vіdchuy” (Ukrainian for ‘’feel’’) public organization Daria Gerasymchuk believes that everyone should know sign language. She explains that a person with a prelingual deafness, a hearing loss that is sustained before the acquisition of language, and therefore is unable to learn to speak or speaks incoherent, doesn’t feel confident in society. “One is limited in his or hers abilities and rights. A person lives in information vacuum. After all, nobody understands him or her. It starts in childhood. And this is all because we do not know their language. Sign language. And it has to be taught. First of all, this is a way of communication. Just like any other language. Second, learning a sign language allows you to perceive the world wider, deeper, and more vividly. You perceive speech and thought not only with your eyes and ears, but also feel it with your body “, – says Daria Gerasymchuk.

According to the experts there are 1.3 million people with hearing impairments in Ukraine alone. “There can be more than 8 million in the countries of the former Soviet Union. And they must be provided with entertainment on an equal footing. For example, in Finland, Sweden, and the UK a sign language is equated with the national. It is taught to children in schools. Health care workers, police officers, teachers and service staff must know sign language, and the TV-channels are required to at least provide subtitles,” says one of the charity project “Pochuy” (Ukrainian for ‘hear’) organizers about the best practices of the Western countries.

Mariana Lyuhanova, who is a sign language interpreter at MEGOGO’s studio, explains the urgent need to create a special channel: “Children, for whom sign language is native, are often watching videos, movies, and cartoons with sign language. So at least they understand what is going on, and can learn the lessons of life from the plot. If some content is shown without signs or subtitles, children often ask their parents, regardless of their ability to hear. And parents do not always have the desire to explain something, “- she says.

The sign language itself facilitates perception of information or a plot for a deaf person. However, the work is not as easy as it looks. Mariana Lyuhanova comments on the workflow: “It is difficult to interpret films with a lot of pointless words or phrases. Sometimes it is necessary to shorten them to convey their meaning and significance. People with hearing loss speak as simple as possible in brief phrases. If there are no problems like buffering or freezing of the videos and subtitles, the interpretation takes as long as the film itself, until the closing credits”.