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FCC Disability Advisory Committee presents recommendations related to audio description

On January 30, during the most recent Federal Communications Commission Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) meeting, the DAC voted on recommendations related to the distribution of audio description of already described programming.

The recommendations are based on the report written by the DAC's Audio Description File Transmittal for Internet Protocol Delivered Video Programming Working Group. This report addresses the Commission's request "to identify issues and best practices associated with the transmittal to, and receipt of, audio description by video programming providers and distributors so that audio description files associated with full-length programming remain available regardless of the distribution method."

The recommendations approved by the DAC are:

  • Encourage vendors to deliver audio description scripts with timestamps to facilitate editing for various reasons.
  • Encourage vendors to provide narration-only audio description files to ensure equivalent quality to the original program audio. This will facilitate the creation of audio in the diverse formats and environments currently or prospectively used on streaming platforms and digital broadcasts. There are also emerging technologies where wider access to unmixed audio files may facilitate faster adoption of new consumer features.
  • Recommend the FCC facilitate a workshop between content creators AD vendors, distributors, and consumer groups to discuss potential tracking and cataloging solutions for audio description assets across platforms, services, and distribution channels. The DAC encourages workshop participants to consider more media alternatives beyond AD alone, such as CC/SDH.
  • Encourage industry participants to establish and identify specific processes and effective communication channels for consumers to raise audio description concerns and register accessibility contacts in the FCC VPD registry.

In addition, the DAC recommends the FCC foster awareness of the report and collaborate with participants to address challenges and pursue the recommendations identified in the report.

Check the FCC's YouTube video to watch the DAC's open session from January 30.