ACMA, Australian Communications and Media Authority

ABC found in breach of captioning rules

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found the ABC in breach of captioning rules due to poor captions on episodes of At the Movies (broadcast on 22 August 2012) and Gruen Planet (broadcast on 17 October 2012).

In its media release, the ACMA states that the ABC did not provide the service required “as the live captions that were broadcast were not adequately synchronised with pictures on the screen. There were also problems with inaccurate and missing captions.” Another issue identified in the investigation reports was that colouring of the captions, which is used to indicate different speakers, was inconsistent.


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ACMA releases new Television Captioning Quality Standard

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) today released its long awaited Television Captioning Quality Standard, which for the first time imposes obligations on broadcasters to ensure that the captions on their programs are readable, comprehensible and accurate.

The ACMA was given the power to draft the new standard as part of amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act which were passed last year. A series of meetings were held in which ACMA consulted with community representative groups, broadcasters and caption suppliers while formulating the standard.


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Results of UK caption quality survey released

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A survey on the quality of television captioning, conducted by Action on Hearing Loss, the largest deafness advocacy organisation in the UK, has found that captioning on news programs is easily the biggest area of concern for Deaf and hearing impaired viewers.

46 per cent of the people who took part in the online survey complained about captioning (called subtitling in the UK) on news programs, with the most commonly identified problems being a delay between speech and the caption appearing on screen, and poor accuracy of captions. These are problems commonly associated with live captioning.


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ACMA posts captioning exemptions submissions

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has posted submissions it has received in response to preliminary caption exemption and target reduction orders granted to 10 television service providers, covering a total of 90 channels. Most of these are subscription TV services which are re-transmitting channels from other sources such as FOXTEL.

These exemption and target reduction orders relate to the new quotas for captioning on free-to-air and subscription television which were included in the Broadcasting Services Act in 2012. The ACMA has the power to grant the orders to television services if providing captions would cause them ‘unjustifiable hardship’. The closing date for applications covering 2013 onward was 27 December 2012, and the ACMA posted its reasons for making preliminary orders earlier this year. Once these were posted, individuals and organisations had 30 days to make submissions in response to them.


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