DBCDE, Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy

ABC report on audio description finally released

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After being delivered to the then Department of Communications, Broadband and the Digital Economy at the end of 2012, the report from the ABC on the audio description trial has finally been released to the public.

The report gives the ABC’s feedback on the technical aspects of delivering audio description (AD) in Australia’s broadcast environment. A number of key findings emerged from the report which will impact on delivery of a service in the future.


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Federal budget fails to deliver on audio description

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The federal budget announced on Tuesday evening had disability reform as its cornerstone. While most Australians with disability cheered, the budget also held disappointment for those who are blind or vision impaired.

Along with funding for DisabilityCare and education reform, funding to the ABC was boosted by $109.4 million. This money is allocated to news and current affairs and digital delivery of programming. What is noticeably absent is funding for an audio description service. Audio description is essential for providing equal access to television for people who are blind and vision impaired.


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Call for an ongoing audio description service trial

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The future of audio description (AD) on Australian television is currently being decided, and blindness and consumer organisations are calling for public support to get an AD service trial on the ABC.

An ongoing service trial would provide viewers who are blind and vision impaired with a similar service to the 2012 technical trial, while allowing the ABC to resolve any issues involved in delivering AD nationally.

The ‘It’s as easy as ABC’ campaign is calling on supporters to write to Senator Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Communications, and Mark Scott, the ABC’s Managing Director, asking them to proceed with the service trial this year.


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Top 12 of 2012 #1 – the audio description trial

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As 2012 winds to a close, we take a look at the twelve biggest events impacting on access to media for people with a disability. Possibly the biggest of all was the first broadcast of audio description (AD) on Australian TV as the ABC performed its 13-week trial.

From August to November, 14 hours of ABC1 was broadcast with an additional audio track describing visual elements for people who are blind or vision impaired. The purpose of the trial was for the ABC to assess the possibility of providing a permanent AD service similar to those available in the UK, North America, Europe and New Zealand.


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