ITV is providing Audio Description on more and more programmes. On ITV3 this is now over 50 per cent of content and over 25 per cent on ITV2, ITV4, CITV and ITV Encore. Certain programmes are not as ideally suited to audio description but a partially sighted viewer may still be able to watch, follow and enjoy. That is until an unvoiced text slate appears ruining the investment the viewer has given. This is also true of foreign language which is normally subtitled but not voiced.
In early 2017, ITV set up an initiative to look into on screen text. This involved mapping out the end to end workflow of a programme to establish where in the chain we could set up a flagging system.
After talks with many different teams internally and externally, a trial was run to determine how many programmes are affected by these additional pieces of information. Fortunately, due to the high levels of audio description ITV provide, this number was reasonably low.
Therefore, adding audio description to these programmes would be easy, as long as we know what programmes have these elements. We identified two departments in the work stream who view programmes before the final stages of delivery to transmission. We approached these departments regarding the initiative and what we wanted to achieve and agreed to set up a new workflow.
The teams send a notification to the Accessibility team that a programme has Text on Screen elements. The Accessibility team then decide whether there is adequate time to flag for Audio Description for that individual show or even for an entire series.
This has now been live for a couple of months and has seen several programmes highlighted for Text on Screen which was then delivered with Audio Description. This is an important step for ITV to demonstrate its commitment to our viewers in making our programmes as accessible and enjoyable as possibles.