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

  • From: "Sila Miller" <silam@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2012 13:02:03 -0400

Yeah, too bad they don't make that accessible, ay? 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Lynn Evans 
  To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Saturday, June 16, 2012 11:52 AM
  Subject: [tabi] Re: Subject: [Njtechdiv] Audio Description

  now if only I could find the SAP setting on my big screen TB.

  Sent from my iPad

  On Jun 16, 2012, at 10:09 AM, "Sila Miller" <silam@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

    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 

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

      "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 

      "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 

      "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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