Kymberly Martin
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TV audio description for blind and vision impaired

The Federal Government is helping people who are blind and vision impaired access audio description services on ABC and SBS television programs with $2 million in funding to each broadcaster.

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“Australia is the only English speaking nation in the OECD not to offer audio description on free-to-air television. We believe that it is long overdue for our national broadcasters to introduce audio description for their audiences,” Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher said.

The government will not prescribe the way in which the ABC and SBS deliver audio description services. The ABC has previously trialed two different delivery methods, via its catch up service and on broadcast television.

“As a result of this funding, the national broadcasters are expected to begin offering audio description services to audiences by July 1, 2020,” the minister said.

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Audio description is a verbal commentary that complements the soundtrack of a television program so people with vision impairment can better experience television programs. It is already available for programs on some streaming services, notably for select titles on Netflix and Stan.

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