Deaf/hearing impaired TV, DVD, Cinema & the Arts news

Report looks at television access levels across Europe

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A major report commissioned by the European Commission has found that levels of captioning, audio description and signing on television vary widely across Europe, and are highest in countries which have introduced legal or regulatory obligations. 

The Study on Assessing and Promoting E-Accessibility looked at accessibility levels in three areas – web, telecoms, and television – in the 27 member states of the European Union (EU), along with four comparison countries, Australia, Norway, Canada and the US.  For each country, the study looked at two public broadcasters and two commercial broadcasters.


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Vimeo enhances accessibility

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The video sharing website Vimeo has introduced several new features, including support for closed captions and foreign language subtitles on its video player.

Until now, YouTube was the only social video sharing service which allowed videos to be made accessible to Deaf and hearing impaired viewers. As reported by the Drum, with this added function, Vimeo will be more competitive and viewers will have access to a larger amount of content.


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Highlights of 2013: television caption quality

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In June, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released its long-awaited caption standard, setting out the criteria it will use when dealing with complaints from the public about poor captioning.

The Broadcasting Services (Television Captioning) Standard.2013 is a very important piece of legislation for Deaf and hearing impaired viewers. Prior to its release, there was no definition of captions in the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and no indication of what constituted adequate caption quality. This meant that the ACMA could only deal effectively with complaints about a program where the captions either did not appear, or were so bad that they were obviously useless for viewers.


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Highlights of 2013: Foxtel’s On Demand movies captioned

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Deaf and hearing impaired viewers have seen large increases in caption levels on television in recent years, but at the same time have been frustrated by a lack of captions on video on demand and catch-up TV services. That makes Foxtel’s decision to provide captions on 14 of its On Demand services from 1 October all the more welcome.

As well as captioning the majority of new releases on the On Demand channels (which are released on the same day as the DVD),  Foxtel is also providing half of the free on demand content that subscribers can access through the iQ section of their iQ or MyStar set top boxes.

Benjamin Cox, Foxtel’s Head of Channel Production, told Media Access Australia that “We’ve received a lot of customer feedback over the years and closed captioning for on demand content is something that has always been requested, particularly since video on demand has grown in usage over the recent years.”


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