Audio description is a verbal commentary that complements the soundtrack of a television program.
The Government has welcomed the launch of the audio description services on the ABC and SBS television programs from Monday, with the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher saying that audio description was a “necessary innovation for the national broadcasters and brings Australia into line with other free-to-air television services in English speaking nations in the OECD”.
“As our national broadcasters, it is important that the ABC and SBS provide greater accessibility to content for Australians who are blind or have a vision impairment so that they can better experience television programs,” Minister Fletcher said.
The Minister said ABC and SBS have started making audio description available on a range of popular scripted television programming across the ABC and SBS networks, including ABC1, ABC Kids/Comedy, ABC ME, SBS and SBS Viceland. This includes Australian content such as Who Do You Think You Are?, Hungry Ghosts, Back Roads, Australian Story, Bluey and Play School.
“The ABC and SBS audio described content broadens the variety and availability of content for blind and vision impaired Australians and importantly, builds on what is already available on streaming services Stan, Netflix, Disney+ and Apple TV+,” Minister Fletcher said.
In December 2019, the Government committed additional funding for ABC and SBS to deliver audio description services to audiences by 1 July 2020.