[tabi] Re: Subject: [Njtechdiv] Audio Description

  • From: "Sila Miller" <silam@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2012 10:09:42 -0400

This is what all our hard work has resulted in. For those like me, who 
sometimes just get TIRED, this is proof that we need to keep on keeping on...
Thanks Niecy, for sharing! Sila 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Denyece Roberts MSW 
  To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Friday, June 15, 2012 4:39 PM
  Subject: [tabi] Subject: [Njtechdiv] Audio Description


  Subject: [Njtechdiv] Audio Description


  Beginning July 1, ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, plus the 
  top five cable networks will begin providing 
  audio descriptions of some of their programming 
  for blind or sight-impaired viewers. The shows to 
  be described range from ABC's Modern Family to 
  CBS's NCIS to Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer to USA's Royal Pains.

  For now, stations in the top 25 markets and cable 
  systems with 50,000 or more subs will be required 
  to offer about four hours a week of the new 
  service. The number of stations and hours will gradually increase.

  Starting July 1, the country's 21.5 million 
  visually impaired people will be able to enjoy TV more than ever before.

  On that day, the Big Four broadcast networks and 
  the top five-rated cable networks will begin 
  offering four hours a week of so-called video 
  descriptions that clue in blind and partially 
  sighted viewers on what's going on when the 
  characters aren't talking. The descriptions, 
  audible only to viewers who want them to be 
  audible, are squeezed in between the dialog.

  Video descriptions have been part of 
  broadcasting, cable, home video, but never to the 
  extent on TV as they will be beginning next month.

  It's not altruism driving the surge in 
  descriptions. They were mandated by Congress in 
  the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.

  According to the FCC's implementing rules, the 
  Big Four O&Os and affiliates in the top 25 
  markets will have to air 50 hours each quarter ­ 
  or roughly four hours a week ­ of described programming.

  Cable and satellite systems with at least 50,000 
  subscribers have to offer the same amount of 
  described programming for the top five-rated 
  cable networks ­ currently Disney, Nickelodeon, TBS, TNT and USA.

  And with just weeks to go before the deadline, 
  the described programming plans of nine affected networks are shaping up.

  ABC's plan is to provide descriptions on some of 
  its Tuesday and Wednesday shows. This summer, 
  those shows include sitcoms Last Man Standing, 
  The Middle, Suburgatory, Modern Family, Happy 
  Endings and Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23.

  In the fall, ABC will likely include most of 
  those shows and new sitcom The Neighbors and new drama Nashville.

  CBS has been providing audio descriptions for 
  several programs since 2002. The lineup is CSI, 
  Criminal Minds, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, plus movies and miniseries.

  NBC has broadcast a slew of shows with 
  descriptions, including the Betty White reality 
  show Off Their Rockers, drama Grimm and the 
  summer series Saving Hope. Described sitcoms 
  include The Office, Up All Night and Parks and Recreation.

  At Fox, The Simpsons has been audio described for 
  several years. Beyond the animated sitcom, Fox 
  isn't prepared to say what it would be offering.

  Disney Channel's described shows will include hit 
  sitcoms Jessie, A.N.T. Farm and the animated Phineas and Ferb.

  Nickelodeon will offer descriptions for some of 
  its biggest hits, like the long-running animated 
  Dora the Explorer and preschool educational show Team Umizoomi.

  Turner Broadcasting will have described movies as 
  well as TV series. Among the series: TNT's The 
  Closer and TBS's Tyler Perry comedies House of Payne and For Better or Worse.

  USA's described programs will include off-network 
  shows NCIS and Law & Order: SVU, plus originals like Royal Pains and Suits.

  "My hope is that more and more networks will 
  embrace these accessibility initiatives," says 
  Joel Snyder, president of Audio Description 
  Associates. He serves as director of the American 
  Council of the Blind's audio description project and is an adviser to the FCC.

  "If they do it right, they'll find ways to make 
  money from it. If they make their shows 
  accessible to these folks, there is a bigger 
  market for advertisers to sell their products."

  For the most part, video-described programs won't 
  include live shows or news. The networks, which 
  are providing most of this content to their 
  affiliates, need time to write description scripts for voice artists to 
record.

  "It takes longer to get that done than closed 
  captioning," says one network executive. "It also 
  requires us to look at how our post-production 
  schedules are set up. We have to work very 
  closely with the folks at the post-production 
  houses to make sure we get the programming to our 
  vendors with sufficient time to get the video description correct."

  Producing the descriptions costs between $2,000 to $4,000 per hour.

  The networks and some associations for the blind 
  are helping to ensure that people with vision 
  problems know that descriptions are coming.

  "It's great for the networks to comply, but 
  what's more important is getting the information 
  out to folks," says Helena Berger, EVP-COO of the 
  American Association of People with Disabilities. 
  She is also a member of Comcast-NBCUniversal's joint diversity council.

  "What we can do on our end at AAPD is to use our 
  communication channels, like our newsletter, our 
  website and social media to get the word out to the community."

  Some of the networks are creating logos and audio 
  tones so that people with vision problems know 
  when a program has audio descriptions. So far, 
  there isn't an industry standard.

  And TV listing providers like Tribune Media 
  Services will provide data to programming 
  services to let them know if a program is 
  audio-described. Then, it's up to individual 
  cable systems to add symbols or sounds to their on-screen listings.

  These described programs are the culmination of a 
  12-year battle by the FCC and groups such as the 
  Audio Description Institute. They thought they 
  had won the battle in 2000 when the FCC adopted 
  rules similar to the 2010 act, but a court agreed 
  with broadcasters that the agency had overstepped its authority.

  Now backed by law, the new FCC rules gradually 
  expand the description obligations to other TV 
  stations. By July 1, 2015, major network 
  affiliates in the top 60 markets will have to 
  broadcast the descriptions. The FCC may require 
  additional stations to air descriptions at a rate 
  of 10 markets a year if it deems the cost is reasonable.

  According to broadcasters, it costs stations 
  anywhere from $10,000 and $25,000 to install the 
  gear necessary to handle the extra audio channel.

  Just because someone has a disability doesn't 
  mean they don't want to be included in life," 
  says Debra Ruh, chief marketing officer at SSB 
  Bart Group, a firm that helps companies make 
  their computer services and websites fully 
  compliant and accessible to people with 
  disabilities. "Part of participating in life is 
  being able to experience television. TV is a very 
  important part of our culture."

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