NBCUniversal announced that they will enhance accessibility to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing by offering closed captioning, audio description, web content accessibility for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games. Peacock, USA Network, CNBC, NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Sports app, and the NBC broadcast network will be airing over 2,800 hours of coverage, which is a record for the Winter Olympics.
“Ensuring that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are available to be enjoyed by the widest possible U.S. audience is core to our mission,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. “For our coverage of the Beijing Games, providing an unprecedented number of hours of accessibility for a Winter Olympics is another important step in accomplishing that goal.”
During last year’s Tokyo Olympics, NBCU made closed captioning available in full for the first time ever on all of their digital properties. For this year’s Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games, NBCU announced how the audio description will work:
Audio description services, in which broadcast audio is interspersed with skilled voices describing Olympic and Paralympic scenes and context, will be available for viewers who are blind or visually impaired. For the Olympic Winter Games, all competitions aired during primetime hours and Prime Plus, along with the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, will include live audio description on the Secondary Audio Program (SAP) channel, provided by Descriptive Video Works. For the Paralympic Games, NBC Sports will provide live audio description for all broadcast programming, including those aired outside primetime hours, as well as on all simulstreams.
91 nations will be competing across 109 events during the XXIV Olympic Winter Games, when the full schedule of games takes place from February 2 to February 20. Not only has NBCU enhanced accessibility, but they’ve teamed up with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service to provide free streaming of the Winter Olympics for service members and veterans.
By using #NBCOlympicsA11y and #NBCParalympicsA11y on social media, viewers can provide NBCUniversal feedback on closed captioning and audio descriptions for an interactive experience.
“The Olympic and Paralympic Games are an opportunity for us all to be inspired by the extraordinary achievements of the world’s best athletes,” said Tom Wlodkowski, Vice President of Accessibility at Comcast. “It is an honor to partner with our colleagues at NBC Olympics to deliver our most inclusive Olympic and Paralympic viewing experience ever, and to share those stories of resilience and sportsmanship with the widest possible audience.”