Prioritise programmes according to the costs and benefits of audio description


Given the cost of audio description, it is usually not possible to add descriptions to all programmes. The decision on which programmes to prioritise should take into account both the costs of the description and the benefits for viewers. The cost may vary for different programmes, depending on the programme type, length and possibly other factors. For broadcasters, there is likely to be a significant cost difference between buying in pre-described programmes and producing or commissioning new descriptions. The benefits will certainly vary because the addition of audio description benefits some programme types more than others.

Directions and techniques

Prioritise the most popular programme.

If time, resource or technical constraints make it impossible to describe all programmes, concentrate initial efforts on the most popular programmes. People with vision impairments are no different in most respects to sighted people. They therefore like to watch the same sort of programmes, with news, documentaries, dramas and special events being among the most popular.

Prioritise programme types that benefit most

If time, resource or technical constraints make it impossible to describe all programmes, prioritise programmes that contain a lot of important but describable action, such as dramas, as these benefit most from audio description. Soap operas in particular often make use of gestures and body language to convey emotion and intention which can be described. In contrast, programmes that contain a lot of talking but little acting, such as chat shows, news and current affairs, benefit least.

Quiz programmes and game shows may offer little opportunity for audio description because they often have tightly-worded almost continuous scripts with few gaps in which to insert descriptions.

Some programmes may be too fast moving for a description to be really helpful.