FCC Proposes Video Description Rules Expansion

(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—The FCC is eyeing an expansion of its video description rules that would benefit blind or visually impaired viewers in 40 markets by 2025.

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 had the FCC to adopt rules requiring certain TV broadcast stations and MVPDs to provide video descriptions—inserted audio that describes key visual elements in between dialogue—for a portion of video programming they offer.

Under the current rules, broadcast TV stations in the top 60 markets are required to provide video descriptions. The new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the FCC would expand the number of markets offering video descriptions by 40 over a four year period—10 a year starting Jan. 1, 2021. This would apply to TV markets 61-100. The NPRM also proposes that the costs be looked at for further expanding video description rules to markets 101 and beyond in 2023.

In addition, the NPRM seeks to modernize terminology in the FCC’s regulations to use “audio descriptions” rather than “video description,” a change it says would more accurately reflect industry standards and consumer expectations.

The NPRM was based on a recommendation from the FCC’s Disability Advisory Committee.

For more information, read the official NPRM (MB Docket No. 11-43) on www.fcc.gov.