On 18 May 2010 a demonstration of the latest digital technology, audio description and captioning devices was presented by the four major cinema chains: Hoyts, Village Cinemas, Event Cinemas (Greater Union, Birch Carroll and Coyle), and Reading Cinemas.
During this presentation, these four major cinema chains put forward a proposal for the future roll-out of accessible technology (the Cinema Access Implementation Plan – (the Plan)).
- Cinema Access Implementation Plan
- Accessible Cinema Advisory Group
- Accessible Cinema Advisory Group Communiqués
- Accessible Cinemas
The Plan and the establishment of the Accessible Cinema Advisory Group (ACAG) aims to assist Australia’s four major cinema chains in converting to a digital based technology to improve cinema accessibility for people who are Deaf or hearing impaired, blind or vision impaired.
The Plan, launched on 17 July 2010, will assist the four major cinema chains to introduce the accessible cutting-edge cinema technology, ensuring there is a reduction in the number of people with disability being excluded from the mainstream social environment.
Recognising the need to ensure people with disability were consulted in this process, the cinema chains also proposed that an Advisory Group be convened to provide advice and assist the cinema industry in meeting its goals.
These goals are outlined in the Plan, and include:
- By the end of 2014 captions and audio description will be available in at least one screen in every one of the 132 cinema complex run by Hoyts, Village Cinemas, Event Cinemas, and Reading Cinemas.
- In addition captions and audio description will be available in:
This will equate to captions and audio description being provided at 242 screens in 132 complexes compared to the current situation where only 12 screens in 12 complexes run by these cinemas provide captioning.
- one screen for every complex with 6 or less screens;
- two screens for every complex with 7 to 12 screens;
- three screens for every complex with 13 or more screens.
- The timetable for achieving this goal is:
- By the end of 2010, access will be provided in 24 screens (10% of target).
- By the end of 2011, access will be provided in 73 screens (30% of target).
- By the end of 2012, access will be provided in 145 screens (60% of target).
- By the end of 2013, access will be provided in 194 screens (80% of target).
- By the end of 2014, access will be provided in 242 screens (100% of target).
- Captions and audio description will be available at every session of a movie where the screen is caption and audio description equipped. For example, the initial roll-out of 10% of screens will result in 840 shows per week of closed captioning and audio description content (i.e. 24 screens at 35 sessions per week).
The four major cinema chains proposed an Advisory Group be established to include representatives of the disability sector to advise and assist them in meeting the goal to improve cinema accessibility for people who are Deaf or hearing impaired, blind or vision impaired.
Functions of ACAG include, but are not limited to:
- Providing advice and assistance to cinemas to facilitate timely implementation of accessible technology.
- Providing feedback on proposed technology solutions and evaluating developments in technology.
- Providing advice and assistance on specific promotional and communication issues around advertising of accessible sessions, including ensuring that the information is accessible to audiences who are Deaf or hearing impaired, blind or vision impaired.
- Providing feedback on the provision of accessible movies to encourage implementation of agreed minimum standards of service and communications across all cinemas.
- Providing advice on the development of appropriate channels for complaints/problems to be addressed and resolved quickly and efficiently.
- Assisting in the development, review and distribution of accessible cinema training material for staff within accessible cinemas.
Membership of ACAG
The ACAG is chaired by Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers. Representatives from the following organisations form the core membership of the Group:
- Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
- Blind Citizens Australia
- Deaf Australia Inc
- Deafness Forum of Australia
- Vision Australia
- Action on Cinema Access
- Arts Access Australia
- Media Access Australia
- Australian Human Rights Commission
- Event Cinemas (Greater Union, Birch Carroll and Coyle)
- Hoyts Cinemas
- Reading Cinemas
- Village Cinemas
- Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia
- Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
- Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
ACAG release Communiqués which give information on progress against the Plan:
- First Communiqué (December 2010)
- Second Communiqué (June 2011)
- Third Communiqué (November 2011)
- Fourth Communiqué (March 2012)
- Fifth Communiqué (September2012)
Roll-out of Accessible Screens
A Roll-out Plan to February 2013 is available and lists which cinemas will have accessible screens and when. The date of delivery of equipment sometimes changes, so the dates in the plan are indicative only. There may also be a few weeks between the date of installation, as given in the Roll-out Plan and the date screening commences. During this period neither closed captioned nor open captioned movies will be available.
- Roll-out Plan of Accessible Screens to February 2013: PDF [74kB]
Please check cinema websites and newspapers for accessible cinema details and screening times.
ACAG is keen to receive comments or feedback about your cinema experience, which can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.