The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced a trial of audio description will be conducted on ABC television in 2012.
Audio description improves access to electronic media for people with a visual impairment. “The ABC will deliver content and conduct a technical trial of closed audio description using receiver-mixed technology for the Australian Government,” Senator Conroy said.
“The trial will involve the broadcast of drama, documentary and other content with audio description on ABC1 for 14 hours per week during prime time over a 13 week period commencing in mid 2012.”
The trial is intended to generate a greater understanding of the technical and consumer issues associated with establishing and delivering audio description services.
Audio description is an additional verbal commentary that complements the underlying soundtrack of a program. It is a narration which explains what is happening visually during television programs, movies, DVDs or live performances. Audio description explains scenes, settings, costumes, facial expressions and ‘sight gags’ during gaps in the dialogue. Currently in Australia there is no broadcast on television of audio description. The trial will assist in assessing the technical and other implications within Australia’s broadcasting context.
The ABC will provide a report to the government on the audio description trial in the second half of 2012.
“The trial will be accessible to any viewer of the ABC’s digital ABC1 service with an appropriate receiver. The consultancy will provide its final report in March, well ahead of the trial commencing mid-year.
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