Able audio describer Paul Harrop audio describing a TV show at the Able studios.

2022 has been filled to the brim!

Able has continued its upward trajectory of expansion and growth during 2022, significantly increasing accessibility on New Zealand screens. We’ve undertaken a strategy of growing our people, technology and services, and since our funding boost in FY20 (July 2020 – June 2022), captioning production has increased by 42%, and audio description by 148%.

There have been many organisational highlights over the year, including reaching the milestone of captioning 100% of possible content on TVNZ 2, celebrating World Hearing Day, World Sight Day and Global Literacy Day to raise awareness about Able’s services, and of course, launching captions and audio description on Three. 

The increase in both captioning and audio description provided corresponds with an increase in users of both services. NZ On Air’s ‘Where Are The Audiences?’ research (November, 2021) shows that 38% of New Zealanders use captions (an increase of 18% since 2018), and 7% use audio description (an increase from 3% in 2016). Able’s vision is for all New Zealanders to have equal access to audiovisual media, and the research indicates that media access services are increasingly valued by society. 

Internally, it has been another year of growth and change for the Able staff team. In May, the Able team farewelled Chief Executive Wendy Youens, who had led the organisation since its inception, making a great impact in the nine years of her leadership. In her stead, Able has welcomed Dan Buckingham to the role, who comes with experience working in the media and disability, and brings to much to Able. 

It has been an exceptional year for the organisation. We wish you all an enjoyable festive season, and look forward to 2023, in which we will continue to work to expand media access services for New Zealanders.

Next in the journal:

The Earcatch logo, a yellow 'E' on a dark blue background.

On-demand audio description app Earcatch winds up, but will continue to be available in Aotearoa

Able launched Earcatch in Aotearoa a year ago – a New Zealand-based library of audio description (AD) made…

A graphic image of an old-school TV with a scene of Pulp Fiction on it.

Blind people watch TV too

Audio description comes as standard on shows streaming on Netflix and other international services. So, Able Chief Executive…

Dan Buckingham, Jai Waite and Rachale Davis are on a stage together. Dan has brown hair, a white button-up shirt and is using a wheelchair, turned away from the camera. Jai is wearing a blue button-up top, using a wheelchair, and is in the middle of speaking. Rachale has blonde shoulder-length hair and a yellow top, looking over at Jai.

Navigating authentic representation of disability

During the annual SPADA conference this year, our CEO Dan Buckingham facilitated a panel with Jai Waite from…

Picture of Virginia Philp (who was part of AD's inception) smiling. She has shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes.

Decade of Able: Virginia Philp, team leader, audio describers

Virginia Philp leads our small crew of audio describers. She overseas everything audio description: recruiting, training and managing…

David wears glasses and a hearing aid, and smiles.

Decade of Able: David Kent, trustee

David Kent is a trustee on the Able board. Since 2005, David has chaired the Southern Hearing Charitable…

A photo of Clive Lansink, who has short grey hair and a grey moustache. He is wearing a blue, yellow and red checkered flannel button-up T shirt.

Decade of Able: Clive Lansink, Chair, Blind Low Vision NZ

Kia ora, Clive. I’ve heard that you were instrumental in audio description advocacy, prior to its introduction to…