26 September 2023

ABC to add audio to its ‘iview’ TV service

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The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has admitted to be announcing the expansion of audio descriptions to ABC iview, to enable audiences who are blind or have low vision to enjoy their favourite on-demand shows.

The Corporation’s audio descriptions now provide a richer and more immersive experience for listeners by offering auditory narrations of visual elements during programming.

With funding in 2020, the ABC launched an audio description service across the broadcast television network and since then it said the commitment was vital for audiences blind or who had low vision.

In the 2021-22 financial year, the ABC broadcast 1,260 hours of unique audio-description content including many premiere events or first-possible releases, across broadcast multi-channels.

Today the audio description service was launched on ABC iview where more than 100 titles (over 1,000 hours of audio described content) are available across iOS (iPhone/iPad), Chromecast and Android devices making programs such as Bluey, Fisk, Muster Dogs, Four Corners, Australian Story, The Newsreader and Mystery Road more accessible to more Australians.

In the last budget, ongoing money for audio description services was incorporated in the ABC base funding. The ABC welcomes the bipartisan support that has allowed it to provide and expand audio description services.

“The expansion of audio described content to ABC iview reflects our commitment to delivering world-class content that’s accessible to all Australians,” the Managing Director of the ABC, David Anderson said.

“Television provides access to a very important aspect of cultural and social life,” Mr Anderson said.

“We are committed to providing inclusive content and services that cater to the diverse needs of our audience, on-demand — ensuring that everyone have access to high-quality ABC content whenever and however they choose.’’

ABC campaign ambassador, Nas Campanella, said audio description was a game changer, enabling her to consume her favourite shows more independently.

“Previously I had to rely on someone to tell me what is happening on screen and hope that someone was free and willing to watch a particular show with me,’’ Ms Campanella said.

“The level of detail I received about facial expressions, actions or costumes on screen was dependent on what that person felt I needed to know. It was frustrating. If I watched a show alone and there were sections with no dialogue, I simply missed out on those often important details. It certainly impacted my enjoyment of a show,” she said.

“Audio description allows me to have equal access to the same information and finer details as everyone else. And it means I can contribute to those water cooler conversations with family, friends, and colleagues like everyone else.”

According to the latest ABC and SBS Audio Description survey, 95% of people who are blind or have low vision are engaging with video every day or most days.

“One in three people who are blind or have low vision are engaging with content with audio descriptions,” it said.

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