Audio Description for Media and Entertainment

February 11, 2019 BY ELISA LEWIS
Updated: November 17, 2021

What is important for media and entertainment?


  • Accuracy: Accurate and clear audio descriptions are a necessity among the media and entertainment industry. The level of accuracy corresponds directly to their product and service and has a direct impact on their brand. When describing for media and entertainment you’ll want to ensure that correct pronunciation, terminology, and language are used. It must fit in the context of the original source video, so as not to take away from the original piece.
  • File formats: Traditionally, publishing audio description has posed a real challenge, as it is not supported by most video players and platforms. Being able to download audio descriptions in different formats – including text-based and media-based files – makes it easier to meet your every need.
  • Budget: Cost/budget is consistently rated as the top barrier to implementing accessibility tools. Audio description produced by traditional vendors is very expensive. However, the monetary consequences of failing to implement audio description have the potential to be even greater. Finding a cost-effective solution to implementing audio description is critical to those in media and entertainment so that they can provide accessible content and be in compliance with the law.

What are common challenges in media and entertainment?


  • Quality/accuracy: To be truly accessible and in compliance with the law, errors must be reduced as much as possible. Providing accurate audio description includes making a proper word choice, describing what is relevant or critical to the understanding of the program, and distinguishing the descriptive audio from the voices in the programming. An audio description service will recognize the importance of complying with Section 508 and deliver files that are thorough and accurate.
  • Reliability and scalability: Audio description can be a big process and commitment. In addition to the expense, traditional audio description is time-consuming and can be difficult to publish. For these reasons, it is difficult to find a reliable and scalable audio description provider who can provide a lot of accurate, competitively-priced audio description in bulk – and consistently provide a reasonable turnaround time.
  • Publishing: Unlike with captions, most players don’t support audio description. This makes publishing another hurdle – and often even an added expense. Many times the only way to publish is to link to a second version of your video that contains the description. This can take up additional time and resources that were not originally accounted for.
  • Staying within budget: Budget plays a critical role in many decisions, including implementing audio description. Traditional audio description is very costly, as the extensive process includes production time, recording, writing a description into specific time codes, and often utilizes human voice actors. Competitive pricing is important to media and entertainment organizations, as they typically have a lot of video content, and costs can add up quickly.

What vendor features are important to media and entertainment?

High quality output

  • High-quality output: High-quality descriptions are necessary in order to make sure that your content is both accessible and enjoyable for your viewers. 3Play wants to ensure that you are happy with the final results. We offer cheat sheets that allow the user to specify pronunciation for tricky words or names. In addition, we offer a preview and edit feature, which allows you to edit your own descriptions in just a few clicks.
  • Accessibility offerings and legal compliance: Meeting accessibility requirements is a major factor in providing audio description in media and entertainment. Audio description is required under many of the same laws requiring captions. Therefore, it’s likely that organizations providing audio description are also in need of captioning. 3Play Media prides ourself on being a one-stop shop for all video accessibility needs. Not only do we offer both standard and extended audio description to fit your unique needs, but we also provide captioning, translation, subtitling, and so much more. Having all of your accessibility needs housed under one roof will make things so much easier!
  • Easy account management: When it comes to process and workflow, simple-to-use and efficient is the way to go. Additional steps in a workflow can add time and quickly consume valuable resources. Audio description that has easy account management can minimize the time and resources needed for the entire process. As they say, “time is money!”
  • Publishing/workflow: Publishing audio description is a common challenge since a lot of players don’t natively support secondary audio. Additionally, people are still getting educated about audio description, making the challenges with publishing surprising, and seemingly insurmountable. This can be really discouraging. With 3Play Media’s 3Play Plugin, you can easily add audio description to any video – even those that you don’t own! The plugin even allows you to toggle audio description on and off from the same video, and of course it’s keyboard and screenreader accessible, too.

Media and Entertainment Customers Who Use 3Play Media

Starz logo, PBS logo, and Viacom logo

Get started with 3Play Media

3play media logo in blue

Subscribe to the Blog Digest

Sign up to receive our blog digest and other information on this topic. You can unsubscribe anytime.

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy.