Annual captioning compliance results: Free-To-Air television broadcasters 2012/13 | ACMA

Annual captioning compliance results: Free-To-Air television broadcasters 2012/13

Reporting on 2012/13 annual compliance (captioning) under section 130ZZC of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992—free-to-air television broadcasters

In monitoring compliance with the captioning obligations under Part 9D of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA), the ACMA receives reports from all national and commercial television (free-to-air) broadcasters on their compliance for a financial year. The ACMA is required by subsection 130ZZC(7) of the BSA to publish these annual compliance reports, which can be assessed by clicking here.

The 2012/13 financial year was the first year of operation of Part 9D of the BSA, increasing captioning obligations on free-to-air television broadcasters.

2012/13 Compliance summary and ACMA approach

All 51 commercial television broadcasters (providing 75 services in total) reported that they had exceeded their annual captioning target requirements for 2012/13.

Both national broadcasters (the ABC and SBS) also reported that they exceeded their annual captioning target, with the exception of one coverage area (out of eight) for the ABC and four coverage areas (out of 12) for SBS where they failed to meet the target. As the captioning shortfall in those five areas was caused by significant technical or engineering difficulties that could not have reasonably been foreseen, the breaches were disregarded under section 130ZUB of the BSA. Accordingly, both ABC and SBS complied with their annual captioning target requirements for 2012/13.

In 2012/13, free-to-air television broadcasters were required to provide captioning for at least an average of 90 per cent of the total duration of programs broadcast on their main channels over the year, between the hours of 6am and midnight each day. Exempt programs include foreign programs (wholly not in English) and music programs that do not contain human vocal content.

A total of 546,640 hours of television programs was broadcast with a captioning service on the main channels of free-to-air television services in 2012/13 (6am to midnight). This means that captioned programs made up approximately 93 per cent of the total hours of all the non-exempt programs (588,571 hours) broadcast on the main channels during this period.

All free-to-air television services reported complying with the requirements about emergency warnings broadcast on the request of emergency service agencies. These emergency warnings must be transmitted in the form of text, speech and if reasonably practicable to do so, with captioning.  

Both national broadcasters (involving all 20 coverage areas) and 41 commercial television broadcasters (involving 53 services) reported instances of non-compliance with the basic captioning rule and/or captioning requirements for repeat programs on multi-channels.

Based on the information provided by broadcasters, some instances of non-compliance were caused by unforeseen technical difficulties and as such were disregarded under section 130ZUB of the BSA (disregarded breaches). The unforeseen technical difficulties included: 

  1. unanticipated equipment failure, including failure of caption inserters, transmission encoder/decoders, caption recording systems, caption storage systems and the stenographic captioning machine
  2. signal interruptions or other technical issues resulting from bad weather, power outages, connectivity issues (such as failure of data line between broadcaster and caption provider) and software failure. 

Broadcasters’ reports indicate that steps were subsequently taken towards addressing those unforeseen technical issues.

Other instances of non-compliance indicate a few early implementation problems in 2012/13 and have resulted in captioning breaches for the broadcasters concerned.

The ACMA’s Approach

The ACMA has taken an educative approach to breaches and disregarded breaches of the annual captioning obligations during the first year of implementation in 2012/13. This is consistent with the approach previously adopted by the ACMA in the first year following the introduction of other new broadcasting regulations.

The following table presents an overview of the breaches and disregarded breaches of captioning obligations in 2012/13. For the purpose of this table, the television broadcasting service provided by each national broadcaster for each of their coverage areas is regarded as a separate service (i.e. eight ABC services (for eight coverage areas) and 12 SBS services (for 12 coverage areas). 

Captioning obligations 2012/13

(95 free-to-air television services)

Breaches

Disregarded breaches (unforeseen technical difficulties)

Annual captioning target

90% captioning 6am to midnight across 2012/13, main channels

0

5 services

 

Basic rule 1a

Caption programs during designated viewing hours (6pm – 10.30pm daily), main channels

 

(Designated viewing hours in 2012/13 totalled 1642.5 hours)

55 services

 

Average total duration of breaches per non-compliant service was approximately 2 hours (0.1% of the  designated viewing hours in the year)

56 services

 

Average total duration of disregarded breaches per non-compliant service was approximately 10 hours (0.6% of the designated viewing hours in the year)

Basic rule 1b

Caption news or current affairs outside designated viewing hours, main channels

54 services

 

Average total duration of breaches per non-compliant service was approximately 45 minutes

55 services

 

Average total duration of disregarded breaches per non-compliant service was approximately 6 hours

Multi-channel captioning rule
Caption repeat programs on multi-channels  if those programs have previously been broadcast with captioning on the broadcaster’s main channel in the licence/coverage area

17 services

 

Average total duration of breaches per non-compliant service was approximately 7 hours

31 services

 

Average total duration of disregarded breaches per non-compliant service was approximately 6 hours

* Captioning obligations do not apply to exempt programs, which include foreign programs (not wholly in English) and music programs that do not contain any human vocal content.

View a summary of the breaches (not including disregarded breaches) and the actions taken by the broadcasters towards preventing similar problems recurring.

Please click here to view the annual compliance reports from free-to-air broadcasters.

 

Last updated: 19 August 2017