July 24, 2014

A Broadcaster’s Guide To Washington Issues

From: TVNewsCheck

By David Oxenford and David O’Connor


TV Closed Captioning —

In February, the FCC adopted significant new closed captioning obligations for broadcasters, which will be phased in over time.  To begin with, the FCC clarified that the closed captioning rules apply to mixed English-Spanish programming, to on-demand programming, and to low power TV stations.  The FCC also clarified that snippets of English or Spanish on programs that are otherwise in a different language do not need to be captioned.

In addition, as of June 30, broadcasters utilizing the Electronic Newsroom Technique (“ENT”) must ensure that most news programming is scripted for the teleprompter (and therefore captioned), and must utilize crawls and other visuals to provide visual access when ENT is not used.  See this article here for further information.

The FCC also has imposed stringent new “quality” standards for captioning, in four distinct areas: 1) accuracy; 2) synchronicity with the words being captioned; 3) caption completeness from the beginning of a program to its ending; and 4) caption placement so that the caption text does not obscure other important on-screen information.  These quality standards will take effect no earlier than January 1, but may be delayed depending on the OMB approval schedule.

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