The cost of descriptive video

Just about the biggest hurdle to universal adoption of described video appears to be the perception that it is simply too expensive.


About ten years ago, Canada’s Global TV became the first commercial broadcaster in the world to offer DV as part of their regular schedule. This was due, in no small part, to the fact that their only supplier at the time, Galaviz & Hauber Productions, had slashed the rates for describing one hour of airtime television from $3,000 to $1,500.


In the intervening years, as the number of outlets for descriptive video multiplied, so did the number of providers of the service, on both sides of the Canada/US border, in spite of a district court judge’s decision in the early 2000’s, which effectively rolled back the mandate for DV for American networks.


With the proliferation of suppliers came two distinct developments, one good, the other not so.


On the positive side, market forces being what they are, the natural competition among suppliers has caused prices to drop even further. Unfortunately, market forces being what they are, it has also meant that people who are in no way capable of creating described video are out there, billing themselves as “industry leaders” with “years of experience”.


Another side-effect has been that producers, in an attempt to save some money, have on occasion undertaken to describe their own productions, almost always with less than spectacular results.


The good news is that DV is now more affordable than ever, at a cost that is comparable to that of closed captioning, often even lower.


In the US, a recent Act by Congress has reinstated the mandate for audio description effective January of 2012. Today, more than ever before, the comparatively low cost of describing a production for the blind can help to open doors for it in some of the top markets of the world.


Feel free to contact us regarding a quote for the description of your project!