Associates in Action: Comcast Sits at the Forefront of Accessibility

By Whitney A. Crowe, CSG Development Coordinator
Over the past several years, CSG Associate member Comcast—owner of NBCUniversal and Universal Studios—has been working to make its products and services accessible to everyone, including the 8 million people with visual disabilities who live in America.
Comcast launched a national campaign during the 2015 Academy Awards featuring a documentary, “Emily’s Oz,” that seeks to educate others on how individuals with disabilities consume entertainment.
“Emily’s Oz” features a 7-year-old girl who has been blind since birth. Her story is about what she envisions when she watches her favorite movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” Emily shares in the documentary that she often hears sounds others fail to recognize and talks about how important her senses are to her viewing experience.
“You pretty much have to take everything off of memory or touch or hearing or smell or sound or taste,” Emily said. “You can’t take anything off of your sight.”
The documentary also serves as an introduction to the first talking guide, a new feature on its X1 entertainment operating system that reads aloud selections like program titles, network names and time slots, as well as DVR and On Demand settings. The voice guidance technology gives users the freedom to independently explore and navigate thousands of shows and movies.
“We want to create opportunities for people who love film and television, but who might not have the opportunity to experience it to its fullest,” said Tom Wlodkowski, vice president of audience for Comcast Cable.
Leveling the playing field for people with disabilities is deeply personal for Wlodkowski. Blind since birth, he hopes the push for accessibility will drive innovation throughout Comcast.
In order to serve even more individuals with visual disabilities, Comcast has partnered with centers for the blind, veterans organizations and long-term care facilities across the country to distribute the talking guide technology.
“By bringing the talking guide to as many people as possible, we can help to bridge that gap and make entertainment just as compelling, captivating and fun for people with a visual disability as it is for anyone else,” said Wlodkowski.
For more information about Comcast’s advances in this area, please visit the company’s website.
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