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Comprehensive Media Compliance Guide for Companies: EAA 2025

Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union based in Luxembourg, estimates that 27 % of the EU population aged 16 years and over had some form of disability in 2022. That percentage equals approximately 101 million people, or one in four adults in the EU.

As the deadline for compliance with the European Accessibility Act quickly approaches, there’s no time like the present for businesses to audit their products and services and ensure they are fully compliant with the law before it starts being enforced. 

Here’s what you need to know today so you don’t miss out on the 2025 deadline. 

Key Facts About the European Accessibility Act 

  • European Accessibility Act (EAA) is a law requiring a minimum accessibility threshold for all primarily consumer-focused products and services in the European Union (EU).

  • The law applies to all businesses that offer products and services in the EU, regardless of where the business is located (e.g., a UK-based company that offers products and services in the EU must follow the EAA requirements).

  • Excluded from the law are micro-enterprises (fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover or balance sheet of less than €2 million), as well as companies for whom EAA compliance would cause a “disproportionate burden” or would “fundamentally alter” their product or service.

  • EAA primarily covers these consumer-focused products and services: e-commerce, e-banking, audiovisual media, smartphones, TV equipment, computer hardware and operating systems, e-books and e-readers, and self-service terminals (such as ATMs, ticket and check-in machines).
  • EU member states have until June 28, 2025, to start enforcing the EAA requirements; any currently existing products and services will have until June 28, 2030, to comply with the EAA standards.

  • Penalties for non-compliance with the EAA depend on each member state but can range from fines of up to €60,000 to up to 18 months in prison 

What Does the European Accessibility Act Mean for Your Business? 

❌ Some businesses may be under the impression that EAA will affect only their websites. WRONG. 

❌Some businesses may believe only products and services offered to the general public fall under the EAA. WRONG. 

❌Other businesses may think complying with the EAA just means adding subtitles to company videos. WRONG AGAIN. 

The truth is that companies will need to ensure that ALL of their media comply with the EAA requirements. That means not only products and services offered to the general public but also any content distributed internally, i.e., to other company employees. 

These include but are not limited to: 

  • Recordings
  • Calls
  • Meetings
  • All-hands
  • Audio

To put it simply, EAA will affect every single piece of media in your organisation. Let’s discuss what that means in practice.

How Will the European Accessibility Act Affect Your Company Media?

Under the EAA requirements, all of your company media will have to follow the golden international standards for accessibility, which are outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, conformance level AA (note that A is the minimum conformance level and AAA the maximum conformance level). 

These guidelines already form the basis of laws regarding accessibility standards in the United States, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508. 

So, what does that mean in practice? It means that all video and audio materials created and/or distributed by your organisation will have to include the following: 

Levels of compliance for pre-recorded media infographic

Captions and Subtitles 

According to the 2015 statistics by the European Federation of Hard of Hearing People, it’s estimated that there are approximately 51 million with hearing loss in the EU (or 9% of the total population). 

Captions and subtitles make audio or audiovisual content perceivable to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing by providing a synchronised text version. WCAG guidelines require captions and subtitles for both pre-recorded (conformance level A) and live audiovisual content (conformance level AA). 

In most cases, subtitles don't contain annotation of non verbal language or background sounds. 

Captions and subtitles can also help improve a website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by helping the content’s indexing by search engines such as Google. 

Additionally, captions and subtitles are useful not only to deaf and hard-of-hearing users but also to users in loud environments (such as airports) or quiet ones (such as libraries), users who have difficulty processing auditory information, foreign languages native speakers, or users who prefer to receive information in textual rather than audio form. 


Unlike captions/subtitles that are synchronised to the audio and audio-visual content, transcripts are a non-synchronised textual version of audio and audio-visual content. 

Image of how a transcript of a video should look like

According to WCAG guidelines, transcripts for pre-recorded video content are only required at the AA conformance level, and transcripts for live video content are not required. However, they are required for pre-recorded audio-only content (e.g., company calls) even at the minimum A level. For live audio-only content, they are only required at the AAA level. 

As with captions and subtitles, transcripts can be useful for a wide variety of users, including deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, and they can also improve a website’s SEO.

Audio Descriptions

An example text of an audio description

According to statistics by the European Blind Union, there are more than 30 million blind and partially sighted people in Europe

In order to make video content, such as recordings of meetings, accessible to people who are blind or have visual impairments, audio descriptions must be used to provide visual information in audio form. 

Audio descriptions should fit in the spaces between dialogue and describe the main information necessary to understand a video that is not clear from dialogue and/or sound effects—such as actions, settings, and scene changes. 

This is particularly important with any kind of company training videos that otherwise may not be understandable to people who are blind or have visual impairments. 

WCAG guidelines require audio descriptions for all pre-recorded video content on AA conformance level.

Colour Contrasts

An example of well and badly done colour contrasts between text and background for captions, subtitles etc.

Statistics by the European Parliament estimate that there are tens of millions of colour-blind people in Europe, with the most common being red-green colorblindness, which affects over 30 million citizens of the EU. 

This is why it’s necessary to ensure a sufficient colour contrast between the text and the background so that people who are colour blind, have low vision, or have other vision impairments can read the important information in your company’s video content, including captions or subtitles. 

According to the WCAG guidelines, there must be a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 between text and/or images and the background or a ratio of at least 3:1 in the case of large text (18 pt or more) or bold text (14 pt or more) in your company’s video content. 

The only exceptions to these guidelines are images that are purely decorative (i.e., images that don’t convey any information) and text that is part of a logo or a brand name. 

Keyboard Accessibility 

People with motor disabilities typically have a partial or total loss of function in body parts, such as arms and legs. People with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and arthritis are particularly affected by motor impairments. 

Motor impairments may prevent people from using a mouse or from using it easily to navigate any kind of content. This is why WCAG guidelines require options to create content that can be controlled through the use of keyboard commands alone rather than relying on a mouse to perform actions such as activating, pausing, rewinding or forwarding audio-visual content, controlling its volume, etc.  

Key Takeaways

  • European Accessibility Act becomes enforceable law on June 28, 2025
  • All businesses that provide products and services on the EU territory (other than the previously noted exceptions) must ensure that they fulfill the EAA requirements by that date 
  • EAA doesn’t only refer to products and services offered to the general public, but also any internally distributed content, such as recordings, calls, meetings, all-hands, audio, etc. 
  • All audio-visual content (whether offered to the public or to company employees) will have to include captions or subtitles, transcripts, audio descriptions, sufficient colour contrasts, and keyboard accessibility 
  • Read everything you need to know about the European Accessibility Act and start preparing for the June 2025 deadline right now

With the European Accessibility Act deadline quickly approaching, businesses must act now to audit and update their products and services for compliance. This work is essential not only for legal adherence but also for fostering genuine inclusivity and making smart business decisions. Ensuring accessibility enhances user experience, broadens market reach, and taps into the substantial spending power of people with disabilities. Start preparing today to meet the 2025 deadline and secure a more inclusive future.

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