The awards promote better quality, frequency and wider use of captions on television, in cinemas, DVDs, theatre, live events and in other situations such as public transport. Captions are such a benefit to the one in six Australians who are Deaf or have a hearing impairment or chronic disorder of the ear. Captions are an essential part of daily communications, entertainment and social needs, providing enjoyment and information about what is happening in the world around us.
Media Access Australia is a long time supporter of the Awards and this year sponsored the Online Captioning and Digital Innovation category. As proof of how fast captions are being adopted online, a joint award was given for the first time.
Representing the three judges, Media Access Australia CEO Alex Varley said:
“What are we looking for? Something outstanding. If you met a required quota or did a little bit of captioning when you didn’t have to – good on you, but it is not likely to win you an award. It’s a bit like Australian honours – you shouldn’t get them just for doing your job. We like to see a true sense of commitment and a demonstration that captioning inclusion has been thought about.
“Ultimately, the point of the awards is to inspire and encourage and set great examples for others to follow.”
Captions for Kids – ABC for Kids (ABC3)
ABC3 is the ABC’s dedicated children’s channel. It is a digital multi-channel and is therefore exempt from the captioning rules which cover the primary channels. Despite this, caption levels on the channel are consistently close to 100%, in contrast to the low levels of captioning on children’s programs on other channels.
Organisational Commitment to Captioning– Forest Hill College
As education is becoming more reliant on electronic resources as a preferred teaching medium, it was becoming an issue for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, as they were missing out on a portion of their learning opportunities. Forest Hill College has taken on the practice of providing captioning as College policy, ensuring that all students in the College receive equal access to information and experiences.
TV Captioning – The Seven Network’s multi-channels 7two and 7mate
Voluntary captioning of TV programs on the multi-channels goes above and beyond the legislated requirements. The Seven Network believes that its dedication to captioning is of significant value to the deaf and hearing-impaired community.
Entertainment, Cinema & the Arts Captioning – Roadshow Entertainment
Roadshow captions all DVD and Blu-Ray titles, and now iTunes titles. The distributor has been a consistent supporter and market leader in captions for the home entertainment market.
Honourable mention for Twilight Cinemas for its open captioned, open-air cinema events, which provide a family-friendly accessible movie to Deaf and hearing impaired people.
Online Captioning & Digital Innovation – joint winners, Viocorp and TVeeder
Viocorp’s online video platform, Viostream, has been developed to enable organisations to publish accessible video content into their website, intranet, mobile app or social media network with a few clicks of a mouse. Its clients, particularly Government departments, were struggling to achieve WCAG 2.0 compliance and reluctant to publish video content. The two key developments that enabled an accessible online video solution are a keyboard navigable media player and an integrated captioning-as-a-service function.
The latest version of TVeeder’s innovative website enables the captions for all of the main free-to-air TV channels to be viewed (in real-time) over the internet.
Roma Wood OAM Community Award – Anton Sammons, Deaf Cinema Club
The Deaf Cinema Club is a non for profit organisation run by volunteers with the purpose of organising closed captioning as open captioned sessions at cinemas for its members. The club books private screenings to provide members as a group a choice of movies, time slot, and venue with closed captioning on screen. The Deaf Cinema Club organises private screening sessions with captions on screen at cinemas.
Thank you to the Deafness Forum of Australia for providing information for this story.
Top of page