EXAMPLE Videos OF AUDIO DESCRIPTION

Audio Description is an additional feature that describes the visual elements happening on screen that sighted people take for granted, such as settings, backgrounds, costumes, and actions. Check out these examples of how AD works when watching a movie. Unfortunately, it is NOT available on Free-To-Air TV in Australia.

Who’s, What’s and Why’s of Audio Description

Audio Description is an additional feature that describes the visual elements happening on screen that sighted people take for granted, such as settings, backgrounds, costumes, and actions. Unfortunately, it is NOT available on Free-To-Air TV in Australia.

  • What is Audio Description?

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    Audio description is an accessibility feature that describes the visual elements sighted people take for granted, such as settings, backgrounds, costumes, and actions. The feature assists people who are blind, vision impaired, or have print, learning, and physical disabilities enjoy television, film and live performances by describing what is happening as it happens.

    There are other benefits of audio description, such as how it can help people with autism, by explaining the emotions of characters they see on screen. As with Closed Captions for people who are deaf or hearing impaired, it can be turned on or off as needed. It is also relatively inexpensive to deliver and, in fact, is already integrated into many of the programs that are imported from overseas.

  • What is the current Australian legislation?

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    Currently, there is no legislation in place in Australia that makes it compulsory to have Audio Description available. In fact, we are the only English-speaking nation in the OECD that doesn’t offer AD for free-to-air television.

  • Who does offer Audio Description then?

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    Different services currently offer Audio Description at the movies, online, while travelling by plane, at libraries, on DVDs and while using apps. Find the full list here.
    In fact Screen Australia has made it a condition as of 2011 that all Australian-made films it funds have to produce an audio description track.

  • Do people who are blind or vision impaired actually watch TV though?

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    People who are blind or vision impaired watch almost as much TV as sighted people. According to a study undertaken by Comcast and the American Foundation for the Blind, 96% of adults with a visual impairment watch TV on a regular basis.

  • What are other countries like NZ, the US and UK doing?

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    Audio Description was introduced on New Zealand television in 2011, the US introduced it in 2010, and the UK has the most developed and regulated laws, with AD featuring on both free to air and subscription channels since 2003. Germany, Austria, Ireland, France, Switzerland and other European countries have also had some audio described programming. Even Australian productions such as Neighbours and Home and Away are produced with AD for overseas release but the AD is not a feature available for Australian viewers.

  • What exactly needs to happen for this to be available here in Australia?

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    It is clear that the Audio Description service would benefit a huge number of Australians. However, the Federal Government needs to pass legislation for mandatory AD on TV. Free-to-air television broadcasters are already required to caption all news and current affairs programs and any program screened on their primary or main channels between 6am to midnight, unless it’s music-only or not in English. It’s great that people who are deaf or hearing impaired get to watch the shows they love but why are people who are blind or vision impaired excluded?

    Hence why we created TV4ALL – It’s time to allow everyone the right to watch TV.

  • What can I do to help?

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    Send a message to your local MP – you can do so in one step via our website – to let them know this is an issue that matters to you. That you don’t believe it’s acceptable for people who are blind or vision impaired to be excluded. The power lies with them to make this happen – however as the Australian public, the power lies with us to let them know that it’s time to allow everyone the right to watch TV.

    You can also share what we’re doing via social media using the hashtag #TV4ALL and we’d love you to encourage other people to make a stand for equal access as well.

We need YOUR help to put pressure on Federal politicians to pass legislation to allow Audio Description to be available on Free-To-Air TV here in Australia.

Find your local MP by just typing in your postcode. Send them a message – it’s time to allow everyone the right to watch TV. You can do this by clicking on their email, as well as through their social media. It’s really that simple. All their contact details are there.

Use the hashtag #TV4ALL. Here are some ideas (please tag your local MP – we’ve included the Minister for Communications already)

Why we don’t have audio description on free-to-air TV @SenatorFifield? #TV4ALL

Why are we the only OECD country not to have audio description on TV @SenatorFifield? #TV4ALL

#TV4ALL – It’s time to allow everyone the right to watch TV.

Things to know about AUDIO DESCRIPTION

Young woman smiling sitting on a couch with headphones on

Audio Description is an additional feature that describes the visual elements happening on screen that sighted people take for granted, such as settings, backgrounds, costumes, and actions. IT IS NOT AVAILABLE HERE IN AUSTRALIA ON FREE-TO-AIR TV. We are the only developed country in the world NOT to offer audio description on TV.

Free-to-air tv broadcasters are required by law to provide captions for all programs between 6am to midnight, unless it’s music-only or not in English. It’s great that people who are deaf or hearing impaired get to watch the shows they love but why are people who are blind or vision impaired excluded?

It’s not just people who are blind or vision impaired who can benefit from Audio Description. There are other benefits, such as how it can help people with autism, by explaining the emotions of characters they see on screen. Or assisting people with print or learning disabilities who are not able to read the subtitles.

As with Closed Captions for people who are deaf or hearing impaired, it can be turned on or off as needed. It is also relatively inexpensive to deliver and, in fact, is already integrated into many of the programs that are imported from overseas.