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Robert Pearson

  Accessible Media

02/04/2013

Accessible Media Inc.: Looking Ahead in 2013 and Reviewing 2012

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Accessible Media Inc. Director, Robert Pearson, highlights the organization's agenda for 2013, including a 24/7 television station, AMI Francais, and reviews the year gone by.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) begins 2013 with long term planning into the future. Later this year, the broadcast licenses of AMI-tv and AMI-audio will be up for renewal. This is a standard process whereby the Canadian broadcast regulator, the CRTC, holds a public consultation to review broadcasters’ terms of license and to seek input from Canadians on the value of the services being provided. Once granted renewal, under a unique must-carriage status, license terms for both our AMI services will then be in place until the end of the decade.

In addition to these renewal processes, AMI has filed a license application for a new television station entitled AMI Francais. This new station will be a 24/7 service that will be fully described in French, again a first of its kind service in the world, as AMI-tv remains. Being a country with two official languages (English and French), this is an important service offering that will allow AMI to expand its audience base with additional communities who are underserved, by providing access to accessible media.

AMI had begun 2012 with a campaign to build increased awareness of our services while also rebranding our two broadcast services, formerly known as the ‘Accessible Channel’ and ‘VoicePrint.’ under a consistent branding of AMI-tv and AMI-audio. Some additional AMI highlights from the year included:

  • The first awarding of the AMI Scholarship for post-secondary students with and without a disability;

  • Establishment of the AMI Research Panel, consisting entirely of persons who are blind or have low vision. Panel membership exceeded 700 by the end of 2012, with several research studies completed on how to advance accessible media in Canada, mobile accessibility and other relevant topics;

  • First live description of a Major League Baseball game;

  • Launch of the first Described Video TV Guide online and through a toll-free call center;

  • Initiation of the development of described video best practices for the Canadian broadcasting industry;

  • Reporting from the 2012 Paralympics Games in London;

  • Launch of original programming throughout the year to meet the needs and interests of the communities that we serve;

  • Expansion of AMI offices across Canada, with others planned in the coming years;

  • Establishment of a strategic membership partnership with G3ict, with a focus on highlighting the unique nature of accessibility within the Canadian broadcasting industry; and

  • Recipient of the FCC Chairman's Achievement for the Advancement of Accessibility Award for the launch of the Described Video TV Guide.
With the successes of the previous year, 2013 is set to be a year of expansion not only of our coverage, but also of original programming and physical size. Following the conclusion of the license proceedings scheduled for April 2013, this will be the organization’s focus along with other major initiatives, such as the launch of the ‘best practices for described video’ later in the year.

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Related Resource

Blog: Digital Empathy for Customers for All Abilities by Robert Pearson | Read full article.

Publication: iPads for Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning | Download free PDF.

Event: Webinar, 'Web Accessibility - the Benefits for Business', co-hosted by G3ict, ILO and UN Global Compact | February 12, 2013 - visit event webpage for details.