Petition launched for more audio description on iTunes

Thursday, 28 January 2016 16:12pm

Accessible media advocate Phillip Chalker has launched a petition calling on iTunes to provide more movies with audio description for people who are blind or vision impaired.

Young girl using earphones connected to a tablet device

The Australian iTunes store introduced audio description last September, when five Pixar movies – Cars 2, Finding Nemo, Brave, Up and Monsters Inc – were made available with audio description. Since then, a few more movies have been added, including The Martian.

In the petition, Chalker notes that many DVDs have audio description, but a sighted person is needed to go into the language settings of the DVD and activate it. If iTunes provided more audio description it would be “incredibly beneficial for people who are blind or vision impaired, as we can download them directly to our iPhone or iPad, then the voiceover that comes with all Apple products will read out the movie title for us. This way we could keep all our audio described movies in one area on our device, as well as allow us to access the movie on the go or in our free time without having to rely on sighted assistance to turn on this feature for us.”

Audio described movies can be found in the iTunes store by typing ‘blind viewers’ into the search bar.

Netflix launched audio description in Australia last year, and currently offers 84 movies and TV programs with the service. To locate these, click on ‘audio description’ at the bottom of the home page.

For more information, see Media Access Australia’s report Access on Demand: Captioning and audio description on video on demand services.

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