Audio Description launched on free-to-air TV

Following an extensive advocacy campaign by the blindness and low vision sector, Audio Description (AD) will be launched on public broadcasters the ABC and SBS this month, providing greater access to content for Australians who are blind or vision impaired.

From 28 June, both broadcasters will provide 14 hours of audio-described programming each week across SBS and SBS VICELAND TV channels on the SBS network, and ABC, ABC ME, ABC Comedy and ABC Kids channels on the ABC network.

The implementation of AD has been enabled by Federal Government funding announced last year, providing $2 million to each broadcaster to introduce AD services by 1 July 2020.

AD is a verbal commentary that describes actions, scenery, costumes and other visual elements to make television content accessible to people who are blind or vision impaired, which until now has not been offered on free-to-air television in Australia.

Vision 2020 Australia is part of the Sector Working Group on Audio Description advocating for AD on Australian free-to-air television, which also includes representatives from the following organisations:

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)
Blind Citizens Australia
Centre for Inclusive Design
Curtin University – Centre for Culture and Technology
Guide Dogs Australia
Royal Society for the Blind (RSB)
The SubStation
Vision Australia

Audio Description survey

The ABC and SBS have developed a survey to gain a better understanding of the needs of audiences when it comes to audio-described programming. If audio description is relevant for you or your household, please take 10 minutes to complete this online survey.