The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is supporting a high profile advertising campaign aimed at helping people to use audio description on their televisions.
UK Broadcasters including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, UKTV, and Viacom are taking part in the campaign, with promotional adverts airing from 17 July – 9 September 2018.
Audio description is a free service that can transform TV viewing for people who have difficulty seeing what’s happening on the screen. Like a narrator telling a story, an additional commentary describes body language, expressions and movements, making the story clear through sound.
Eleanor Southwood, Chair of RNIB, said: “I use audio description when I watch TV and it makes a huge difference – I’m able to be fully involved in what I’m watching because I know I’m not missing anything.
“I hope this campaign will encourage lots more people to give audio description a go. It is available on over 60 channels and across all sorts of programmes – from documentaries to reality TV.
“If you are a regular AD user then share your feedback with the broadcaster or with RNIB as quality is just as important as quantity. I’m pleased that broadcasters are promoting audio description and RNIB will continue to push for even more, high quality accessibility, including on catch up services.”
Colin Palgrave, from Blackheath, is an avid audio description user. He said: “I find AD so easy to use and it provides good detail. My dad used to describe films for me when I was a child, and AD brings back those memories, as well helping to inject life into the film. I would encourage other blind and partially sighted people to try it out.”
Vikki Cook, Director of Standards & Audience Protection at Ofcom, said: “Ofcom is delighted to support this campaign, which is a fantastic opportunity to shout about the availability of audio description. It’s provided on all the major television channels but low awareness of what’s available can mean that many people are missing out on a valuable means of transforming their whole viewing experience”.
RNIB has been working closely with the UK Broadcasters to increase levels of audio description to a minimum of 20 per cent percent of programming – double the statutory 10 per cent level required by law – helping to improve television for blind and partially sighted people.