Audio description now mandatory on US television

Wednesday, 4 July 2012 16:08pm

As of 1 July, audio description is once again mandatory on television in the US, with the top four networks and top five cable TV channels obliged to screen 4 hours of audio described programs each week.

Audio description was originally made mandatory in 2000 with a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but this was struck down after a successful legal challenge by the Motion Picture Association. Reinstating it was one of the key provisions of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, which was signed into law by President Obama in October 2010.

The act also states that two years from now, the FCC will report to Congress on audio description, and four years from now, it will have the power to increase audio description to 7 hours a week.

The Audio Description Project has created a list of described programs on US television, which it will update as more information comes to hand.

In Australia, a trial of audio description is due to commence on ABC1 in August, and run for 13 weeks. 

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