HBO Max improves accessibility with new audio descriptions
WarnerMedia made a settlement in October of last year where it vowed to improve the accessibility of its video streaming platform, HBO Max, for the visually impaired customers. Now, the company is making good on that promise.
The American Council of the Blind, one of the advocacy organizations that signed the agreement with WarnerMedia, announced today that HBO Max is rolling out audio descriptions for some of its titles like HBO originals, Max Originals, and Warner Bros films. Some titles that will include audio descriptions are His Dark Materials, Genera+ion, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Dunkirk, Euphoria, Love Life, and Sesame Street.
These audio descriptions are going live on the web and mobile versions of the streaming platform starting this week. The feature will be available on eligible internet-connected TVs later this year. Audio descriptions work as separate audio tracks that verbally describe what’s taking place on the screen. These tracks currently span nearly 1,500 hours in total duration, although audio descriptions for HBO and Max Original shows are expected to reach a total of 3,000 hours by the end of March 2022 and 6,000 hours by March 2023. HBO Max will also gather all of the shows and movies with audio descriptions in a new category under its navigation menu.
In addition, the service will improve the way people with visual difficulties gain access to HBO Max’s website and mobile apps over the next few months. It’s also adding articles to the platform’s help page, where customers will find various instructions to perform certain tasks that are otherwise difficult to do. Finally, WarnerMedia will train its customer support specialists in order to improve how they provide assistance to customers with disabilities.