Multichannels

Captioning on digital multichannels

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The Federal Government is due to introduce new regulations regarding captioning on digital multichannels like GO!, 7Two, Eleven and ABC2 which will take effect in 2014. With this in mind, Media Access Australia has conducted a survey of the content and current levels of captioning on these channels.

Under current provisions in the Broadcasting Services Act, the only programs which need to be captioned on multichannels are repeats which were originally shown with captions on a network’s primary channel. The survey shows that captioning on the commercial networks’ multichannels remains largely confined to repeats, with some exceptions such as Neighbours, which screens on Eleven, and AFL matches on 7Mate. Overall, the Seven Network’s multichannels, 7Two and 7Mate, had the highest levels of captioning, with over 40% of programs between 6am and midnight being captioned.


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Amendments to Broadcast Services Act a win for Deaf viewers

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The Broadcast Services Act (BSA) has been amended to include increased quotas and quality guarantees for captioning on free-to-air and subscription television. These long-awaited amendments are being celebrated by Deaf and hearing impaired viewers who can now expect a greater variety of programs with captions meeting certain basic standards.

The amendments, which were passed by the Senate in June, introduce quotas for subscription TV providers such as FOXTEL. These will increase incrementally and will range from 5% on music channels to 75% for movie channels by 1 July 2014.

Captioning quotas for free-to-air television will also increase incrementally to one hundred per cent of programming between 6 am and midnight by 2014. News and current affairs programs must be captioned no matter what time of day they are broadcast.


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Caption levels on the new commercial digital channels

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Media Access Australia recently conducted a survey of captioning on the commercial digital multichannels (7Mate, 7Two, GO!, Gem, Eleven and One HD), showing levels of total captioning, first run programs captioned and programs migrated to digital multichannels without captions.

Under the Government’s rules, these channels are exempt from the captioning requirements that cover the primary channels. The only programs which must be captioned on them are those which were previously screened on the same network’s primary channel with captions. The survey shows that, in general, the commercial multichannels are only captioning the bare minimum they are obliged to do.


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Nine agrees to caption ‘V’ on GO!

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Nine has agreed to caption the new series of ‘V’ on free-to-air channel GO! after viewers complained that it was not captioned.

While the previous series shown on Nine’s main channel was captioned, the first episode of the new series was not. This is in line with the Federal Government’s regulations concerning multichannels like GO!, which are only obliged to caption repeat programs that were originally screened on a network’s main channel with captions.

However, following the complaints, Nine has agreed to caption the new series from episode 2 onwards.


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