AMILogo_Stacked_CMYK-300x2312Sunday’s 103rd Grey Cup game drew an overnight, estimated audience of over four million viewers on TSN. Some of those viewers, however, never saw the winning Edmonton Eskimos run a single play. That’s because about 25,000 people followed the game with audible descriptions as provided by Accessible Media, Inc.

AMI-TV is a Toronto-based digital cable specialty channel which provides descriptions for viewers who have a visual or hearing impairment. Some viewers (I’m thinking of you, mom) stumble upon this service simply by pushing the wrong buttons on their remotes. All of a sudden, a voice is telling you, “Penny walks into the kitchen,” or the action is being explained through words directly on the screen.

Andy Griffith wore out a lot of light-coloured suits on Matlock

Brian Perdue, director, programming for AMI (as spelled out on his Braille business card), tells me the Blue Jays’ recent playoff run also pulled viewing numbers into the double digits. The service’s biggest draw? Their mid-day airing of Matlock episodes from the ’80s and ’90s. The formulaic NBC law series gets up to 50,000 boomers people reading or listening along each day.

As star Andy Griffith might have said, “By-golly!”


  1. Another factor for increased viewers on AMI is that TSN and Sportsnet are not necessarily part of the basic cable package for all BDUs in Canada whereas AMI is.

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