Television

Audio description – three ways

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Audio description for television, streaming video and cultural events is a major conversation topic among access advocates for people who are blind or vision impaired. At a recent Blind Citizens Australia NSW meeting, three experts gathered to provide updates and insights into what is happening with audio description in Australia.

Three colourful speakers on a dark background


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ACMA to host a conversation on live captioning

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is holding a one-day event on 15 September, Live captioning: let’s talk, that will provide an opportunity for representatives from industry, government and consumers to discuss the state and future of live captioning.

Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) logo


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Greens Senator calls for audio description on TV

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The Senate has supported a motion introduced by the Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, calling on the Federal Government to amend the Broadcasting Services Act to include a requirement for all free-to-air and subscription television services to provide audio description.

Headphones with auxiliary cable cable shaped into an audio waveform


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A world of access at Media for All

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Access to media is a growing feature at international conferences. A problem for Australian audiences is that these conferences are usually located in Europe or North America and tend to feature experts and case studies only from those regions of the world.

Sphere comprised of multiple images with light emerging from its centre


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Petition started to bring audio description to TV

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Stephen Jolley, who has been blind since birth, has started a petition on Change.org, asking the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, to change the broadcasting laws so that free-to-air television channels must provide audio description for blind and vision impaired people.

Girl wearing headphones, pointing a remote control with her right hand


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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.

People walking through an airport


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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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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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