TV access

Making access work in the New World

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Access to media through audio description and captioning is well established through most of Europe, North America and the English-speaking world. However, the situation in other parts of the globe is very mixed. Reporting in Australia is, not suprisingly, biased towards English language developments and advances. What is happening in other parts of the world, especially in Asia?

Globe of the world with Asia in focus

Digital media and technology: 

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U.S. Government makes captions compulsory in airports

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The Department of Transport has issued a ruling which will make it compulsory to turn on captions on all televisions and audio-visual displays in American airports.

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Blind viewers are dreaming of streaming

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Video-on-demand (VOD) or streaming video services are seen as the new way of delivering content to people where they can choose how and when to view that content, rather than rely on time-limited broadcast schedules. In Australia, services such as Netflix, ABC iview, Foxtel on Demand, Presto and Stan have gained lots of publicity and secured new customers quite rapidly.

Left hand with extended index finger pressing a holographic play button

People who are blind or vision impaired have also been excited by these new developments, but a key issue for them is whether the content is audio described or not and whether the platforms to access these services are accessible.


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Ofcom consults on accessibility of on-screen TV guides

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The UK communications regulator Ofcom has issued a consultation paper outlining changes it is proposing to make electronic program guides (EPGs) more accessible for blind and vision impaired TV viewers.

TV remote resting on a flat wooden surface next to an open magazine


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Academic calls for new audio description policy

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Dr Katie Ellis, senior research fellow in the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University, is calling for a new policy on audio description to be introduced in Australia to bring it in line with captioning.

Man wearing headphones while pointing remote control at TV


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UK channels breach rules by not providing access in other countries

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The UK communications regulator Ofcom has found that a number of UK-based channels owned by AXN and MTG breached access regulations by not providing enough captioning or audio description on services broadcast to Italy, Denmark and Sweden in 2014.

Little girl pointing remote control at a cartoon on TV


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Study will review disabled consumer experiences with video on demand

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Curtin University academic Katie Ellis will investigate disabled consumer experiences of subscription video-on-demand (VOD) services in Australia in her project ‘Accessing Video on Demand: A study of disability and streaming television’.

Left hand pointing a remote control at a Smart TV


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Audio description trial on iview enters third month

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The trial of audio description on the ABC’s iview service is about to enter its third month, with feedback from viewers on the choice of programs and quality of the description being very positive.

ABC iview icon

Since the trial began in April, over 12,000 drama programs and over 5,000 factual programs have been played on iview with the audio description activated. The most popular drama program so far has been Poldark, and the most popular factual program The Killing Season.


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Blind viewer sues ABC for not providing audio description

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Suzanne Hudson, a blind television viewer, has launched a case against the ABC in the Federal Circuit Court, claiming that it has unlawfully discriminated against her by not providing a regular audio description service for the blind and vision impaired.

Headphones resting atop a vintage microphone. Image credit: Ilmicrofono Oggiono via Flickr


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UK Labour MP supports VOD access campaign

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Labour MP Lillian Greenwood has submitted a private member’s bill to the House of Commons in support of Subtitle It!, a campaign to improve the accessibility of video-on-demand (VOD) services.

Lillian Greenwood holding a sign which reads 'Subtitle It! Whatever we watch, however we watch it #SubtitleIt'


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