FCC Reopens Closed Captioning for Comments
WASHINGTON: The Federal Communications Commission is asking
for updated feedback on two closed-captioning rulemakings. One was passed in
2005; the other in 2008. The first one alone generated 1,600 comments and ex
“More than five years have passed since the commission sought comment on
several very important matters relating to closed captioning of video
programming,” the FCC’s notice
stated. “During this period, there have been a number of changes in the
provision of closed captioning on video programming.”
The transition from analog to digital broadcasting changed the way closed
captioning was delivered and displayed, for example, and speech-to-text has
come online since 2005.
Questions posed in the new comment cycle include whether or not the FCC should
establish quality standards for non-technical aspects of closed captioning.
Such standards may include “accuracy of transcription, spelling, grammar, punctuation
and caption placement,” as well as the potential cost of adopting a standard.
The FCC also wants to know if there’s enough captioners to even support a
It’s also seeking information on procedures beyond pass-through, which requires
TV distributors to literally pass through all closed-captioning on programming
delivered by content creators. Compliance reports and noncompliance fines are
also considered. The FCC further wants to know if the use of electronic
newsroom technique should be disallowed in certain markets, and whether or not
petitions for exemption should be filed electronically.
From the 2008 rules, the FCC is looking at the parameters for exemption. Those
rules qualified stations generating revenues of less than $3 million. The new
cycle seeks to establish if multicasts should be considered individually, or
collectively, for the purposes of closed captioning.
Comments are due on CG Docket No. 05-231 and ET Docket No. 99-254 by Nov. 24,
2010. Replies are due Dec. 9, 2010.
-- Deborah D. McAdams