The cast of Real Housewives of Potomac

ITVBe pioneers new enhanced audio description service

ITVBe partners with RNIB to develop a new and enhanced audio description service

We want our programmes and services to be as accessible as possible to the largest audiences.  We continue to exceed Ofcom’s targets for subtitling, audio description and signing and beyond that we work with organisations such as RNIB to make sure that we’re continually improving access to our channels and programmes.

ITVBe, one of our youngest channels, is an entertainment, lifestyle and reality channel and home to programmes like The Only Way is Essex and The Real Housewives.  The style of ITVBe’s programmes meant that the typical way of providing audio description was proving challenging.  The fast pace means that the way in which audio description is typically provided, within gaps in dialogue, was not offering enough context.  So earlier this year, the team met with RNIB and a number of visually impaired viewers to better understand their needs and to find possible solutions for AD that would fit the channel’s style of programme.

Working with Deluxe Media, who provide our AD tracks, we set out to try a new way of audio describing; offering descriptions of not only what was happening at that moment but what had just happened, or what was about to happen – whilst tailoring descriptions to the style of the show. We also agreed that when it comes to scenes such as mass greetings or the aftermath of a surprise where people are repeating words and phrases like “hi” and “oh my gaaawwd”, that the AD track could cut over speech, for the sake of having more flexibility to describe what was happening.

The new style of AD featured for the first time on the launch episode of the brand new series of Real Housewives of Potomac, which aired on Sunday 28th August and from 10th September will also feature on episodes of Dinner Date and Be Beautiful.