Overcoming technical challenges: an innovative AD solution from SevenOne Media

May 17, 2023

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SevenOne Media (ProSieben) in Germany set out to explore the feasibility of providing audio description (AD) services on linear TV to make content accessible to those with vision impairments. The German media company encountered a technical challenge: a lack of free audio tracks available to insert the additional voice-over file necessary for delivering AD on linear TV broadcast. For SevenOne, out of a total of eight audio tracks, two are used for left and right audio and the remaining six are used to enable surround sound, resulting in the lack of free tracks for AD.

A solution was found in Austrian company, AUDIO2, specialists in subtitle and AD services, who created a mobile app which allows blind and visually-impaired users to access AD services for TV content through their own mobile device. Seven.One worked with AUDIO2 to create an app, available on iOS and Android, that is compatible with SevenOne’s own channels and programming.

Whenever AD is available, an on-screen logo appears signalling that users can activate the service on their mobile device. This innovative AD solution is available for over 100 shows, including Germany’s Next Top Model and The Masked Singer.

The AD service is also compatible with smart speakers such as Amazon’s Alexa. if AD is not available, users can ask Alexa to be automatically reminded when the next show with AD starts.

This tool is used to enable AD on SevenOne’s programming, however, the service is ready to be used for advertising content also, should the demand arise from advertisers on the market. Since the launch of the solution, the first accessible TV spots aired on ProSieben in December 2022, involving four spots delivered with AD and subtitles.