According to the CNIB, every 12 minutes someone in Canada begins to lose their eyesight. In fact, researchers estimate that more than one million Canadians are blind or partially sighted. That number is estimated to be 30 times higher in the US.
It is no secret that our population is getting older, so these numbers will rise. As a result, there will be more and more demand for accessible content, including described video.
Regulatory bodies have started to take action. In Canada, the CRTC requires broadcasters to provide at least 4 hours per week of described programming.
While in the U.S., the FCC requires ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, USA, the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, TNT, and TBS to each provide 50 hours of video-described prime time or children’s programming per calendar quarter. This is currently required in the top 25 markets. Over the next 10 years, the FCC is to expand video description to 10 new markets annually to achieve 100 percent nationwide coverage.
Described video (known as audio description in the U.S.) makes video broadcasting and online publishing more inclusive. It allows people who are blind or partially sighted to immediately access your content. See examples here.
There are several benefits to providing a DV version of your video production. Yes, it will help make your media compliant with bodies such as the CRTC and FCC, but it also provides an opportunity to expand your audience.
When produced properly, DV is a seamless narrative aide that can be enjoyed by all – visually impaired viewers as well as sighted people.