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

  • From: "Christopher Thomas" <cthomas70@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2012 11:24:37 -0400

I agree with yu, Chip and Allison.  It's the electronics that frustrate me 
sometimes.  Also, as a Comcast customer I have Video-on-Demand but am unable to 
use it to watch movies!  I have to ask a neighbor and have even asked a 
delivery person to find a movie for me because I'm just unable to use it as a 
blind person.  I'd love to know whom to contact at Comcast to let them know I'd 
love to enjoy their video-on-demand services as a blind customer.  But having 
"The Closer" on TNT audio described to me would be fantastic.  I LOVE that 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Allison and Chip Orange 
  To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Saturday, June 16, 2012 1:28 PM
  Subject: [tabi] Re: Subject: [Njtechdiv] Audio Description

  You are so right ... inaccessible electronics is a bigger problem than tv 
shows without descriptions!

  We just bought a new printer for the house, and like all of them it's got a 
totally electronic touch screen for controlling it, which is completely 
inaccessible to a blind person.

  We don't have anyone equivalent to the FCC whom we can complain to about all 
things with electronics.


    From: tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On 
Behalf Of Lynn Evans
    Sent: Saturday, June 16, 2012 11:52 AM
    To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
    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 

        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 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 

        "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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