Skip to main content

FCC notes upcoming closed captioning changes

The FCC has issued a reminder to video programming distributors of the upcoming closed captioning benchmark for pre-rule nonexempt video programming. The new rule states that after January 1, 2003, 30 percent of the distributor’s pre-rule nonexempt video programming must have closed captioning.

The FCC’s closed captioning mandate applies to both analog pre-rule video programming (i.e., video programming that was first published or exhibited before January 1, 1998), and digital pre-rule video programming. Digital pre-rule programming is video programming prepared or formatted for display that was first published or exhibited before July 1, 2002.

Beginning January 1, 2008, 75 percent of all pre-rule nonexempt programming must be captioned.

These benchmarks ensure that video programming is accessible to viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing as directed by Congress in Section 305 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

The FCC also reminded programmers that rules currently require that at least 900 hours of new nonexempt video programming be closed captioned on each channel, each calendar quarter. This amount will increase to 1350 hours as of January 1, 2004.

The full texts of documents regarding closed captioning requirements can be downloaded in text and ASCII formats from

Back to the top