The media access report



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THE MEDIA ACCESS REPORT

ISSUE 3 – Winter 2007

ABOUT MEDIA ACCESS AUSTRALIA


Media Access Australia is a not-for-profit, public benevolent institution and Australia’s primary media access organisation. Our role is to provide information about media access and to develop and apply technological solutions to media access issues.

MAA is the new name for the public benevolent institution formerly known as the Australian Caption Centre, which was founded in 1982. As the ACC, we provided captioning services for all the Australian television networks, as well as the captioning of television commercials, live theatre, videos and DVDs, and pioneered the audio description of DVDs in Australia in 2005. The captioning and other commercial operations of the former Australian Caption Centre were sold to Red Bee Media in 2006. MAA no longer engages in the provision of commercial access services.

MAA is based in Sydney and works in collaboration with consumer organisations, Government and industry across the country.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY MEDIA ACCESS?


Media access services include, but are not limited to, captioning for the Deaf and hearing impaired, and audio description for the blind and vision impaired. MAA is committed to increasing the awareness and use of these services in television, DVDs and videos, cinema, theatre performances, exhibitions and other media.

The Media Access Report will cover key developments in media access in both Australia and around the world, as well as providing statistical and other information on current levels of access.

DISCLAIMER


Statistical information published in The Media Access Report is derived from public sources such as television listings and websites. It has been made available for general use only and is provided without warranty as to its accuracy or currency.

SUBMISSIONS


We are interested in receiving submissions for publication in The Media Access Report, including accounts of media or events that have been made accessible, research papers, and news items dealing with captioning, audio description and other access services. If you have any material you would like to submit, contact Chris Mikul on (02) 9212 6242, or email chris.mikul@mediaaccess.org.au

CONTENTS


ABOUT MEDIA ACCESS AUSTRALIA 1

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY MEDIA ACCESS? 1

DISCLAIMER 1

SUBMISSIONS 2

CONTENTS 2

MEDIA ACCESS NEWS 3

Glossary 3

Acronyms 4

MEDIA ACCESS NEWS 5

BBC set to launch online captions on iPlayer 5

Ofcom releases final access report for 2006 5

Mastering captioning and audio description 7

Closed Captions on Flash videos 7

New solutions for AD on television unveiled in the UK 7

Mobile TV delayed 9

More online captioning innovations 9

Red Bee Media wins French captioning contract 10

USA’s Air Carrier Access Act delayed 10

MAA’s caption information roadshow 11

Media access features at print disability conference 11

Annual Deafness Forum captioning awards 12

FREE-TO-AIR TELEVISION 12

Problems with digital captions 12

FCC clarifies obligation to caption emergency information 13

Free-to-air television complaints 14

GOVERNMENT ACCESS POLICIES 15

Tassie updates policy 15

CAPTIONED TV COMMERCIAL SURVEY 15

SUBSCRIPTION TELEVISION 16

MAA releases CSAs for subscription television 16

Sky’s ‘Gnome’ an aid to the blind 16

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CAPTIONING IN THE UNITED STATES 16

DVDs 19

HREOC convenes DVD Round table 19



Access on the 2006 top sellers 21

Access on the 2006 top-selling children’s titles 21

Access on new-release DVDs 22

Access on sell-through and television series titles 23

Access on Blu-ray DVDs 23

Closed Captions on US DVDs 23

CINEMA 24

Captioning in Australian cinemas 24

R&D for cinema captioning systems 25

No audio description in Australian cinemas yet 27

Captioned movie trailers and audio described samples in the UK 28

THEATRE 28

Audio description and the arts – the next step? 28

World-wide wrap-up of theatre captioning methods 29



If you would like to be put on the mailing list to receive future issues of The Media Access Report, email info@mediaaccess.org.au

MEDIA ACCESS NEWS

Glossary


Audio description: The descriptive narration of all the visual elements of a TV program, movie, DVD, performance or other media, giving access for the blind or vision impaired. AD may be pre-recorded and delivered as an option for television programs or DVDs, or it may be performed live (e.g. for a theatrical performance).

Captions: A transcription of the audio elements of a TV program, movie, DVD, performance or other media, giving access for the Deaf and hearing impaired. Unlike subtitles, captions include song lyrics, descriptions of sound effects and music, and are often positioned and coloured so as to make it easier for the viewer to identify who is speaking. Captions may be divided into:

  • Open captions: Captions which are ‘burnt onto’ a video or digital image and will be seen by anyone who looks at it, and

  • Closed captions: Captions which a viewer chooses to see (e.g. by accessing teletext captions on TV, or activating the captions on a DVD).

Signing: Access to a TV program, movie, DVD, performance or other media via a signer using one of the various Deaf sign languages, e.g. Auslan (Australian Sign Language). Some TV programs in the US and UK have a signer occupying a space on the screen.

Stenocaptioner: A highly trained captioner who captions live programs using a stenographic keyboard.

Subtitles: This generally refers to English translations of foreign language TV programs or movies, presented as text at the bottom of the screen. It can also be a straight transcription of the dialogue of an English language program (this is a common feature on DVDs). Note however that captions are often called subtitles in the UK.

Teletext: The broadcast data delivery system used in Australia to transmit captions on television.


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