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Keywords acquires Canadian audio description firm Descriptive Video Works

DVW has provided audio description services for broadcast programming as well as live events such as the Olympics, for which it was the first company to provide real-time audio description

Audio Description
Audio description is a narrated description of what is appearing on screen and is used for visually impaired audiences

Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) has acquired Vancouver-based audio description provider Descriptive Video Works Inc (DVW) from its founder Diane Johnson for around £1.9mln (C$3.2mln).

Founded in 2003, DVW has provided audio description services for broadcast and streamed programming including films, documentaries and series as well as live events such as the Olympics and Paralympics, for which it was the first company to provide real-time audio description.

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DVW has also worked with large US and Canadian media networks including NBC Universal, CBS, CBC, Viacom and A&E as well as streaming giant Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX).

Audio description is narrated, voice based descriptions of what is appearing on screen and is primarily for the benefit of visually impaired audiences, and is increasingly mandated by law in many territories.

Keywords chief executive Andrew Day said the firm had previously collaborated with DVW in 2018 on a transcription project for a major video game franchise and was “impressed” by the team’s capabilities.

He added that the acquisition would give Keywords its first studio in Vancouver, a city with a “very active involvement” in film, TV and video game development.

“We are looking forward to supporting the accessibility needs of the film, TV and video-games industry as these markets continue to develop.  Our voice over studios around the world will be looking at ways in which they can work with Diane and her team to bring audio description production to European, South American and Asian markets”, the CEO said.

In a note, analysts at Peel Hunt said the acquisition would “fit nicely” into Keywords’ services portfolio, maintaining their ‘hold’ rating and 1,254p price target on the stock.

After dipping back in early trading on Wednesday, Keywords shares rallied in the afternoon, adding 2.3% at 1,745p.

 -- Updates share price --

Quick facts: Keywords Studios PLC

Price: 1800 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £1.31 billion

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