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2021 Audio Description Awards Gala Award Winners Announced

by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern

The inaugural Audio Description Awards Gala 2021, sponsored by the American Council of the Blind, saluted eight organizations and individuals for being “the best-of-the-best in the field of audio description in media.” Premiering with the live airing on November 18, 2021 on NBC’s Peacock TV as well as the Audio Description Awards Gala website, the AD Awards Gala will be available through the end of December. The new ACB Barry Award recognized the honorees for their contributions to the “’continued expansion of accessible media for our community,’” according to ACB’s Executive Director, Eric Bridges. Following are the award categories and the winners in each:

Outstanding Audio Description Visionary: The evening began with a tribute to the legacy of Barry Cronin, Ph.D., creator of the Descriptive Video Service, WGBH-TV. Dr. Cronin, the founder of the National Center for Accessible Media, received an award for his pioneering contributions to media accessibility.

Outstanding Achievement in Audio Description Impact for Live Events: ABC (a subsidiary of Disney), was saluted as the first company to add audio description, through their Disney+ mobile app. The award also recognized them for their Oscars telecast, where they hired blind influencers to engage with audio description audiences, in order to give live feedback to the announcers in real time, and for adding audio description to Disney’s entire catalog going back to the late 1920s.

Audio Description Game Changer #1: The first award in this category was given to Netflix in recognition of their efforts in using audio description in their hit show Marvel’s Daredevil. They were also recognized for having easily accessible audio description content across their platform and for their dedication to using human talent to narrate their content.

Audio Description Game Changer #2: The second awardee in this category, Apple+, was recognized for their efforts in audio description and accessibility, which stabilizes audio content in Dolby Atmos and offers audio description programming to their audience in up to 22 languages.

Audio Description Game Changer #3:  The third and final “Audio Description Game Changer” award went to Procter & Gamble for their efforts in adding audio description to all of their commercial advertising content.

Outstanding International Accessibility Contribution: The awardee was Canal 22 International, a Spanish language cable television channel, recognized for their efforts in Spanish language audio visual accessibility. Their broadcasts of Spanish audio description programming to the United States originate from their offices in Mexico.

Outstanding Achievement in Audio Description Innovation: This honor was awarded to Spectrum for development of the app, Spectrum Access, the first of its kind in providing audio description that syncs with movies and TV shows as well as easily accessible content to audio description audiences.

Outstanding Achievement Audio Description Impact for Live Events: was awarded to Comcast NBCUniversal for their efforts in providing audio description for live events, such as theatrical performances and sporting events, most notably the Olympics.

Congratulations to all of the winners!