25 October 2011 ~ Comments

Video Description Services

While many legislative changes and technological improvements have recently improvement media accessibility for the hard of hearing community in the United States, a current mandate is also providing a similar victory for the visually impaired.  As part of the 21st CVAA, rules that were originally established in 2000 have been reinstated concerning video description services (VDS).

VDS specifically includes audible narration about significant visual elements of video content.  By including the description and strategic pauses in between dialogue, people that are visually impaired are able to gain a greater understanding of what is occurring on screen.

The reinstated rules are directed, for the most part, at large-market affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox as well as major cables channels including the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, TBS, TNT and USA.  The mandate placed on these stations and affiliates is to provide a minimum of 50 hours of VBS content per quarter of the calendar year.

The possibility of greater and greater amounts of television programming including VBS is certainly an exciting progression for accessibility.  Much like the significance of closed captioning in extending the benefits of the television experience to people that are hard of hearing, VDS marks an important stepping stone in enhancing the experience for the visually impaired community.  In fact, current estimates state that 11 million blind or visually impaired consumers will be positively affected by these video description rules.

According to the reinstated rules, full VDS compliance is required for the listed stations and affiliates by July 1, 2012.  For more information regarding the technical process and other aspects of VDS, read this full-length article from TV Technology.

  • Informative post regarding video optimization. Description plays very important role to get ranking in a search engine.

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