Top 12 of 2012 #1 – the audio description trial

Error message

Deprecated function: Array and string offset access syntax with curly braces is deprecated in include_once() (line 14 of /home/mediacc/public_html/themes/engines/phptemplate/phptemplate.engine).
Monday, 3 December 2012 10:52am

As 2012 winds to a close, we take a look at the twelve biggest events impacting on access to media for people with a disability. Possibly the biggest of all was the first broadcast of audio description (AD) on Australian TV as the ABC performed its 13-week trial.

From August to November, 14 hours of ABC1 was broadcast with an additional audio track describing visual elements for people who are blind or vision impaired. The purpose of the trial was for the ABC to assess the possibility of providing a permanent AD service similar to those available in the UK, North America, Europe and New Zealand.

The trial featured a combination of British and Australian programming including Rake, Summer Heights High and Dr Who. Many viewers were impressed by the quality of the AD.

Lauren Henley from Blind Citizens Australia said, “I’ve been really impressed with the level of detail provided and I think the Australian describers have done a fantastic job.”

A campaign run by Blind Citizens Australia, Vision Australia and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Easy as ABC, saw 30,000 postcards distributed to petition the ABC’s Managing Director, Mark Scott, and the Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy, to keep AD switched on.

The ABC is currently drafting a report on the technical aspects of the trial which will be provided to the Government by the end of the year. Senator Conroy has stated that he will work with those involved, including Media Access Australia, to resolve any technical issues the report raises.

Chris Mikul, Media Access Australia’s television project manager said, “The trial was a great technical success, and the quality of the audio description was also widely praised. It showed that AD can be successfully integrated into the Australian broadcasting system, and paves the way for the introduction of a regular service.”

The trial was a massive step towards bringing Australia into line with international standards, and a good starting point for the eventual establishment of a permanent AD service.  

Further information about audio description, including a sample clip is available.

Top of page