TV services exceed captioning targets | ACMA

TV services exceed captioning targets

All commercial television broadcasters and one national broadcaster, the SBS, have reported exceeding their 2013–14 captioning targets.

Captioned programs made up approximately 97 per cent of the total hours of all non-exempt programs broadcast between 6 am and midnight on free-to-air broadcasters’ primary television channels. This compares with a captioning target of 95 per cent and is up from 93 per cent in 2012–13 (when the target was 90 per cent).

Ninety-nine per cent of subscription television services met the 2013-14 captioning targets and 67 per cent exceeded the target.

All free-to-air and subscription television services met requirements to broadcast emergency warnings in text and speech, and if practicable, with captioning.

However, some broadcasting and subscription television services did report breaches of their captioning obligations.

‘The ACMA took a pragmatic approach, given the overall outstanding performance and the positive trend line,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘All of the television services that fell short of meeting the captioning obligations in 2013–14 have taken appropriate steps to prevent similar issues recurring, including resolving technical issues, enhancing procedures and undertaking staff training.’

More information about the compliance results and the annual captioning compliance reports received from television services are available below:

For more information, please see the backgrounder below. To arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

Media release 27/2015 - 4 June

Backgrounder

The captioning obligations that apply to free-to-air television broadcasters and subscription television licensees are set out in Part 9D of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA). Part 9D was introduced in June 2012.

The 2013–14 financial year was the second year of operation of Part 9D of the BSA. The ACMA received annual captioning compliance reports for this year from both national broadcasters, 51 commercial television broadcasters (providing 75 licensed services in total) and 11 subscription television licensees (providing 660 services in total).

Captioning obligations on free-to-air (commercial and national) television broadcasters (Division 2, Part 9D of the BSA)

  • Annual captioning targets (primary television channels): From 1 July 2012, free-to-air television broadcasters must meet the annual captioning targets for their primary television channels each financial year. The annual target was 90 per cent for 2012–13 and 95 per cent for 2013-14, extending to 100 per cent from 1 July 2014.
  • Designated viewing hours (primary television channels): Free-to-air television broadcasters must provide a captioning service for programs transmitted during the designated viewing hours, which were between 6 pm and 10.30 pm each day for programs broadcast before 1 July 2014. From 1 July 2014, designated viewing hours have been extended to between 6 am and midnight each day.
  • News/current affairs outside designated viewing hours (primary television channels):Free-to-air television broadcasters must provide a captioning service for news and current affairs programs transmitted outside the designated viewing hours.
  • Repeat television programs on multi-channels: If a free-to-air television broadcaster transmits a television program on its multi-channel television service and that program has previously been transmitted with captions on the broadcaster’s primary television channel in the same coverage or licence area, the broadcaster must provide a captioning service for that repeat program.

Captioning obligations on subscription television (broadcasting and narrowcasting) licensees (Division 3, Part 9D of the BSA)

  • Annual captioning targets: From 1 July 2012, subscription television licensees must meet annual captioning targets for each financial year. There are different annual captioning targets for different categories of subscription television services. For 2013–14, the annual captioning targets ranged from five per cent (for music services) to 70 per cent (the default target for movie services). The annual targets gradually increase until they reach 100 per cent of the transmission time.
  • Repeat television programs: If a subscription television licensee transmits a television program on a subscription television service and that program has previously been transmitted with captions on the same or another subscription television service provided by the licensee, the licensee must provide a captioning service for that repeat program. (As of 1 July 2014, this requirement only applies to television programs supplied by the same channel provider. This amendment was introduced to be consistent with the government’s focus on de-regulatory initiatives.)
  • Simultaneously transmitted television programs: If a licensee transmits a television program on two subscription television services simultaneously and if a program is captioned on one of the two services, than the program must also be captioned on the other simulcast service.

Emergency warnings (Division 5, Part 9D of the BSA)

When transmitting an emergency warning on request of an emergency service agency, free-to-air broadcasters and subscription television licensees are required to transmit the whole warning in text and speech and if reasonably practicable, with a captioning service.

Captioning Standard (Division 4, Part 9D of the BSA)

Free-to-air television broadcasters and subscription television licensees are required to comply with the Broadcasting Services (Television Captioning) Standard 2013 (the Standard), which commenced on 5 June 2013. The Standard sets out quality requirements by reference to readability, comprehensibility and accuracy.

Annual compliance reports (Division 6, Part 9D of the BSA)

Free-to-air television broadcasters and subscription television licensees are required to provide annual reports to the ACMA relating to their compliance with captioning obligations (Division 2 and Division 3), requirements regarding the captioning quality standard (Division 4) and emergency warnings (Division 5). The annual reports must be given to the ACMA within 90 days after the end of the relevant financial year and the ACMA must publish on its website a copy of the annual captioning reports it receives.

Last updated: 06 July 2016