In recent months audio description has made its way onto Australian TV, bringing a new level of accessibility to selected ABC and SBS programs for viewers who are blind or have low vision.
However, the need for more audio description on TV in areas such as advertising remains an important topic.
Vision Australia Radio’s Peter Greco recently caught up with Belong Mobile head of brand and marketing Kelly Schulz to discuss audio description in advertising. Belong Mobile has released multiple TV advertisements featuring audio description.
Kelly said television networks were initially reluctant to air Belong’s audio described advertisements as they highlighted the lack of accessible content on Australian TV.
“The networks know they’ve not done something that really is essential, and it’s something that sets us back in comparison to other countries by not having audio description,” Kelly said.
“When Belong approached them with this ad and said, ‘this is audio described’, they didn’t have to do anything, all they needed to do was play an ad because we’d embedded the audio description into it from the beginning,” she said.
“They didn’t like the idea that we were pointing out something just by having an ad that was audio described, but I think it’s really important. And that’s partly why we stood behind the TV4All campaign, so it’s about educating as much as anything else.”
Michael Ward, Vision Australia national coordinator audio description, said organisations taking a proactive approach to including audio description is a positive step.
“Congratulations to Belong for paving a way in their recent marketing campaign by building accessibility into their productions. In essence Belong have taken audio description, something once viewed as an addition, and ingrained it directly into the fibre of their message,” he said.
Chris Edwards, Vision Australia manager of government relations and advocacy, echoed Michael thoughts and said Vision Australia will continue to advocate for expanded audio description offerings on Australia TV.
“Vision Australia will continue to advocate strongly to the Federal Government to ensure all Australian TV broadcasters provide audio description as part of their standard offering,” Chris said.