As we usher in a new year, CompuScripts Captioning would like to update our closed captioning clients on changes in regulations regarding Internet video. Internet video programming distributors should already be acquainted with The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, or CVAA. First implemented in 2012, the CVAA mandates the captions of most Internet video programming. Compliance with the CVAA is monitored by the Federal Communications Commission.
Since March 2012, prerecorded, unedited video programs has required captions when shown for the first time on the Internet. Live programming, near-live programming, and prerecorded, edited programming has required Internet captions since 2013.
In 2014, video programming distributors had 45 days to caption for the Internet previously televised captioned programming. Beginning March 30, 2015, that deadline shrinks to 30 days; for example, a captioned program that is televised on March 30, 2015, must appear with closed captions when shown on the Internet by April 29, 2015. Beginning in 2016, a captioned televised program must appear with captions when shown on the Internet within 15 days to remain compliant.
CompuScripts Captioning has been working with our clients to ensure compliance with the CVAA since its implementation in 2012. Previous blogs have addressed Internet captioning regulations and
FCC deadline changes, and future blogs will address changes in the required quality of captions. In addition to Internet video, CompuScripts Captioning offers closed captioning and subtitling services for broadcast and DVD media. Our services are customized for your particular workflow and deliverables, as well as your budget. For assistance on how all of your video programming might meet FCC compliance deadlines, or to request a quote, contact our Caption Coordinator, Stacey Wilson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.888.849.9698.
CompuScripts Captioning believes in offering clients the quickest turnaround for every budget. Before we can give you an accurate quote, we’d like you to do some homework. Having the following information at hand will allow us to start your captioning project right away!
What to Know When Requesting a Quote for Your Postproduction Broadcast Project
- In what format do you need your captioned master video? This is best answered by the broadcast station airing your program. Does the broadcaster want a videotape or digital format? (Most broadcasters have made the transitioned to digital formats.) If a digital format is expected for delivery, what are the specifications? These are highly nuanced. Your station may want high definition or standard definition video. They will require a specific finished file wrapper and particular audio and video codecs. If your sales contact at the station cannot answer these questions, ask to speak to the station engineer. This information is essential in building a quote that will accurately reflect the ultimate invoice for your captioned project.
- What are you giving CompuScripts to work with? First, it is important that the audio of your master video meets FCC requirements. Second, your master video has to be ready to be ingested into the station’s broadcast server complete and finished, except for the captions, when we receive it. If it is not, we must know the specifications of your station’s broadcast server in order to create a new master. Again, speak with your station’s engineer, as stations may use different broadcast servers for different types of programming. Delivering your program to us in a format that meets the station’s specifications will get you the quickest turnaround and save you money by eliminating the need to reformat your video.
- When does the station need delivery of your production? This is not the same as your program’s air date. Stations may need your program a week or more in advance, especially if they require a digital format. For the quickest turnaround and the most budget-friendly quote, plan to deliver your program to us with sufficient time to meet your station’s deadline.
- Know your captioning options. Before contacting us for a quote, view our services menu at ccaptioning.com. CompuScripts offers postproduction, broadcast realtime, and Internet captions, and there are options within each category for every budget. CompuScripts will help you choose the right option for your intended audience and get you the quickest turnaround possible.
Having this information at hand when you call will allow us to build an accurate quote that suits your quality expectations and budget requirements.
Although much attention is being paid to new Federal Communications Commission regulations concerning the closed captioning of Internet video, it is also important to understand the legislation that first mandated the captioning of television video, the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The provisions of Section 713 of the Act are intended to “ensure that video programming is closed captioned and accessible to persons with hearing disabilities.” (FCC Report and Order, August 22, 1997) That accessibility goal notwithstanding, the Commission did provide exemptions to the captioning requirement.
Some exemptions are self-implementing, meaning that a programming provider does not need to seek Commission approval through petition. Programming that is exempt from captioning requirements includes, but is not limited to, that which is in a language other than English or Spanish, that which consists mainly of non-vocal music, and that which is shown between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. local time.
There are also two exemptions based on the annual revenue of the programming provider. FCC rules exempt all programming providers with annual gross revenues of less than $3 million per year from the captioning requirement. This is based on the conclusion that it would be economically burdensome for these providers to offer captioning. If their revenues exceed $3 million per year, programming providers are permitted to limit their spending on captioning to 2% of their annual gross revenues.
If the programming provider does not meet any of the standards of self-implementing exemption, the provider may petition the FCC on grounds that closed captioning is economically burdensome. The factors that will be considered upon examination of the petition include the nature and cost of the closed captions for the programming, the impact on the operation of the provider or program owner, the financial resources of the provider or program owner, and the type of operations of the provider or program owner.
For a full list of television programming exemptions, please go to http://transition.fcc.gov/cib/dro/ccfactsh.html.
Captioning for Internet Videos
The Federal Communications Commission released final rules for implementation of the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) on January 13, 2012. These new rules require video programming owners to send required caption files for IP-delivered video programming to video programming distributors and providers along with program files and set January 13, 2012, as the date to which compliance deadlines are linked.
The FCC defines a video programming owner as “any person or entity that either (i) licenses the video programming to a video programming distributor or provider that makes the video programming available directly to the end user through a distribution method that uses Internet protocol; or (ii) acts as the video programming distributor or provider, and also possesses the right to license the video programming to a video programming distributor or provider that makes the video programming available directly to the end user through a distribution method that uses Internet protocol.”
In issuing final rules, the FCC set the schedule for compliance with the CVAA:
“All prerecorded programming that is not edited for Internet distribution and is subject to the new requirements must be captioned if it is shown on television with captions on or after the date six months after publication of these rules in the Federal Register;”
“All live and near-live programming subject to the new requirements must be captioned if it is shown on television with captions on or after the date 12 months after publication of these rules in the Federal Register;”
“All prerecorded programming that is edited for Internet distribution and is subject to the new requirements must be captioned if it is shown on television with captions on or after the date 18 months after publication of these rules in the Federal Register.”
The FCC also defines the video programming distributor or provider. For purposes of the CVAA, the VPD or VPP is considered to be “any person or entity that makes video programming available directly to the end user through a distribution method that uses IP.” Of special interest to the VPD or VPP is the regulation regarding archival programming:
“Archival content must be captioned according to the following deadlines: Beginning two years after publication of these rules in the Federal Register, all programming that is subject to the new requirements and is already in the video program distributor’s library before it is shown on television with captions must be captioned within 45 days after it is shown on television with captions. Beginning three years after publication of these rules in the Federal Register, such programming must be captioned within 30 days after it is shown on television with captions. Beginning four years after publication of these rules in the Federal Register, such programming must be captioned within 15 days after it is shown on television with captions.”
Visit www.fcc.gov for more information.
CEA-608 captions, also known as Line 21 captions, were the standard for analog television broadcasts. CEA-608 captions are embedded in the television signal and hidden in line 21 of the vertical blanking interval (VBI). CEA-608 captions become visible when the consumer activates a decoder, either built into the television or existing separately as a set-top box. CEA-608 captions appear in white font on a black, boxed background. Many languages may be excluded from CEA-608 captioning entirely as not all alphabetical characters are supported.
CEA-708 captions are the standard for digital television broadcasts, whether in standard definition or high definition. As digital television does not have VBI, CEA-708 captions are placed into MPEG-2 video streams in the picture user data. A consumer with a digital television featuring a built-in decoder may choose to view the closed captions in any of eight different fonts, three different font sizes, and 64 different colors of font and background, thus customizing the caption display. CEA-708 captions also have the advantage of supporting Unicode characters, allowing the captioning of most all of the world’s languages. CEA-708 captioning allows for more flexible placement of captions. CEA-608 captions may also be transported through CEA-708.
PLEASE NOTE: Up-converted 608 captions are not “True 708 Captions” and cannot take advantage of any of the new 708 caption features, such as multiple fonts and styles, multiple windows, or Unicode character support. CompuScripts Captioning delivers true 708 captions.