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T20WC broadcasters announce special feed for hearing and visually impaired fans

T20WC broadcasters announce special feed for hearing and visually impaired fans
Hearing and visually-impaired cricket fans can look forward to an Indian Sign Language (ISL) and audio descriptive feed during next month's T20 World Cup in the Americas with official broadcasters Disney+Hotstar and Star Sports Network announcing special telecast arrangements. This will be applicable for 10 matches including all the India games, semi-finals and finals.

The broadcaster said that this is the first time that the T20 World Cup will be telecast with sign language and descriptive commentary making "cricket more immersive for its deaf, hard-of-hearing and visually-impaired users."

Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur, welcomed the move.

"The Government of India is committed to creating an inclusive society and I strongly believe that this initiative will enhance the viewing experience for millions of differently-abled sports enthusiasts," he said in a press release.

With this, Disney+Hotstar also becomes the first OTT platform to make ISL available for live cricket.

Sajith Sivanandan, Head, Disney+ Hotstar India, said, "This underscores our commitment to promote inclusivity and serve all users. With these enhancements, we aim to ensure that the excitement of cricket knows no bounds."

Sanjog Gupta, Head of Disney Star (Sports), said the innovation has got good response in the ongoing IPL.

"Our mission of serving sports fans is powered by such pioneering initiatives which seek to remove barriers of access and engagement for fans from all walks of life. The initiative also serves to present a more inclusive picture of India's favourite sport and is of immense pride for the sporting fraternity," he said.

The ISL feed will provide a ball-by-ball update through the presence of a translator on the live stream. The audio descriptive feed will be complemented by voice-over technology for specific pages, which can render text and images into a speech output.

Alok Kejriwal, Founder and CEO, India Signing Hands, a non-profit organisation that advocates for equal opportunities for the deaf, described it as an excellent move.

"I am confident that it will open doors to the exciting world of cricket to many more people from the Deaf and Visually Impaired communities," he said.

According to the World Health Organization, there is an estimated 6.3 crore community of deaf and four crore visually impaired individuals in India.


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