New Trust to provide services for hearing and vision-impaired TV audiences

Published on : Monday, December 2, 2013

download-1NZ On Air and the Media Access Charitable Trust are today celebrating the official launch of Able, New Zealand’s new television captioning and audio description service for hearing and vision-impaired audiences.

Launched by Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss, the service provides free captions allowing Deaf and hearing-impaired people to enjoy a range of broadcast content across TV ONE, TV2, TV3 and FOUR. Ablealso delivers audio description on selected programming on TV ONE and TV2, a relatively new service for blind and vision-impaired audiences.
The service is fully funded by NZ On Air.

Able Chief Executive Wendy Youens says the service currently captions more than 250 hours of programmes each week, and provides more than 20 hours a week of audio description. Over time, the trust would like that figure to grow.
“In today’s world people rely heavily on broadcast and online media for their information and entertainment. Our services are vital for the estimated 70,000 vision-impaired and 700,000 hearing-impaired New Zealanders,” said Ms Youens.

Able is a newly-formed independent entity taking over a service originally provided by TVNZ. NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson says that the creation of a stand-alone operation, supported by a charitable trust, is an excellent move.

“Increasing the quantity of captions is a priority. This move means both that operational efficiencies can be made and also that extra revenue can be earned which will be directly allocated to increasing services provided to TV audiences,” said Ms Wrightson.

“This will be underpinned by NZ On Air’s majority public funding, which we expect to continue to increase slowly over time,” she said.

NZ On Air currently provides at least $2.4million a year for these services and has fully funded broadcast captioning since 1990.

“The service is first-class and is now in a great position to continue to grow and serve New Zealanders for many years to come,” said Ms Wrightson.

Source:- NZ On Air

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