Audio description trial on iview ending soon

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Monday, 6 June 2016 11:51am

The trial of audio description on the ABC’s online iview service, which commenced in April 2015, will soon be drawing to a close.

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During the trial, which was always scheduled to end in June, 14 hours of programs were added to iview each week. Audio described programs for June will include Cleverman, Comedy Showroom, David Attenborough's Rise Of Animals - Triumph Of The Vertebrates, Janet King and Rake. They can be watched on desktops, mobile devices and Freeview.

The trial will begin to wind down in June, with a few programs continuing to be added to iview in July, and some of these remaining available into August.

According to the latest figures from the ABC, just over 13,000 audio described program were played on iview in April, with the most popular being drama and comedies. Octonauts was the most popular children’s program. 234 people responded to an ABC online survey about the trial, which has just closed. Most respondents were pleased with the choice of programs and the quality of the description, and said they would recommend the service to others.

Following the end of the trial, the ABC will deliver a report on it to the Department of Communications, which funded it. There are as yet no plans for the trial to be followed by the introduction of a regular audio description service.

The Greens recently called for the audio description trial to be made permanent (link is external). And on its election webpage (link is external), the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has called for amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act and the national broadcasters’ charters to mandate audio description services across free-to-air to “help to ensure that all Australians are able to participate and benefit from the ubiquity of our primary medium for news, information and entertainment”.

For more information on the audio description trial, and efforts to have a regular service introduced, see Audio Description on TV (link is external).

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