Sky, WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS ‘Turn on the Subtitles’ for more than 500 episodes of their most popular kids’ content

Monday 8 March 2021

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Sky, WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS Networks UK have partnered to improve the literacy skills of thousands of children across the UK and Ireland by turning on the subtitles of more than 500 of their most popular episodes of kids’ content.

The new collection, in support of the Turn on the Subtitles campaign and available from March 8th to Sky customers with Sky Kids, aims to improve the reading and writing skills of children while they’re watching their favourite shows.

Poor literacy skills can hold a person back throughout their life and currently one in four children in the UK leave primary school without being able to read fluently. Turning on same-language subtitles for children’s content can double the chance of them becoming a proficient reader.

Lucy Murphy, Director of Kids Content at Sky, said: At Sky, we connect millions of children to stories they love.

"We’re delighted to partner with WarnerMedia and ViacomCBS to support the Turn on the Subtitles campaign and help improve the literacy skills of thousands of children in the UK and Ireland through something as simple as turning on the subtitles to their favourite shows

Vanessa Brookman, Head of Kids, WarnerMedia EMEA, said: “We are so pleased to be a part of this important initiative from Sky. By providing a range of our best loved titles from Cartoon Network and Boomerang, such as The Amazing World of Gumball and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo, we hope to contribute to improving children’s reading skills across the UK and Ireland.”

Louise Bucknole, VP Programming Kids, ViacomCBS Networks UK & Ireland, added: “Turn on the Subtitles is a great way to help improve children’s reading and writing skills in the UK & Ireland. We’re thrilled to support this great initiative with Sky and to add subtitles to our much-loved shows from the Nickelodeon catalogue such as PAW Patrol, SpongeBob Squarepants, Henry Danger, The Thundermans and many more”.

Oli Barrett MBE, Co-founder of Turn on the Subtitles, added: "Some ideas are so powerful that something must be done about them. Subtitles improving literacy is one of those ideas. This campaign takes an incredibly simple insight and uses it to improve people's lives. We are incredibly grateful for the support of Sky, Viacom and Warner Media who are now taking this seriously, and to the many high-profile names who are helping us to spread the word." 

Eye-tracking behaviour research shows that 94% of children engage with subtitles while watching their favourite shows which can improve spelling, grammar, and vocabulary, with the child often unaware they are learning.

The Sky Kids ‘always-on’ subtitled collection has been curated with some of the most popular children’s content including SpongeBob SquarePants (Nicktoons), PAW Patrol (Nick Jr.), The Amazing World of Gumball (WarnerMedia), Be Cool, Scooby-Doo (WarnerMedia), and Sky Kids Originals like Pirates Love Underpants and Moominvalley.

Find out how to turn on the subtitles for more of Sky’s great content.

For more information please contact:
Sian Parry / Sian.Parry@sky.uk

About Sky

Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Across six countries, we connect our 24 million customers to the best entertainment, sports, news, arts and to our own award-winning original content.

Our technology, including the market leading Sky Q, connects people to everything they love - TV, music, games, online video, fitness and educational content, all in one place, easy. Our streaming service, NOW TV, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.

Building on the success of Sky Originals like Chernobyl, I Hate Suzie and Brassic, we are doubling our investment in original content by 2024 through Sky Studios. Sky News provides impartial and trustworthy journalism for free, while Sky Arts, the UK’s only dedicated free-to-air arts channel, makes the arts accessible for everyone. Our new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, is expected to create over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in the UK over the first five years alone.

We believe that we can be a force for good in the communities in which we operate. We’re committed to being Europe’s first net zero carbon entertainment company by 2030. We take pride in our approach to diversity and inclusion: we’ve been recognised by The Times and Stonewall for our commitment to diversity and we’ve put in place a new programme to invest £30million across our markets over the next three years to tackle racial injustice.

About WarnerMedia

WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, HBO Max, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, truTV, CNN, DC Entertainment, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies and others. The organization also includes Xandr’s suite of advanced advertising solutions designed to help to improve advertising for brands, publishers, and consumers.

About ViacomCBS Networks UK

ViacomCBS Networks UK (VCN UK) forms part of ViacomCBS Networks International, a unit of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAC). Comprised of many of the world’s most popular entertainment brands, including MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount Network and public service broadcaster Channel 5, VCN UK is the third largest commercial TV network in the UK. With 26 channels reaching 98% of TV viewers, it is the second largest TV channel portfolio in the UK. 

VCN UK’s suite of streaming products includes Channel 5’s AVOD service, My5, which has 5M registered users; MTV Play, MTV’s first ever direct-to-consumer SVOD mobile streaming app; and ViacomCBS’ AVOD platform Pluto TV, which offers over 90 live TV channels. In addition to its innovative streaming services and digital video products, VCN UK provides powerful capabilities in production through in-house studio Viacom International Studios UK (VIS UK).

About Turn on the Subtitles

TurnOnTheSubtitles was set up to persuade broadcasters and streaming services to do just that - turn on the subtitles - specifically for children's content, to help improve literacy.   TurnOnTheSubtitles isn’t a company, it's just some like-minded people who think this idea is so blindingly obvious that it just has to happen. It was devised by Oli Barrett MBE and Henry Warren; old friends who have started multiple businesses and charities over the years.  We are absolutely thrilled that Sky, Viacom and Warner Media are backing this campaign and have decided to create subtitled content for children.  Their efforts will help countless numbers of children improve their reading and we are sure that parents will see this as a huge benefit in these unprecedented times. Thank you all!  You can find out more about what we are doing at www.turnonthesubtitles.org.

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