Subscription TV

ACMA releases review of captioning rules

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has just released the final report into its statutory review of captioning rules. While ACMA, as the independent statutory authority, does not recommend specific legislative amendments in the report it has just tendered, it has made three key findings.

Image of ACMA logo

ACMA logo

ACMA requested submissions from the public in June 2016, and the issues it looked at during the review included captioning rules for multichannels, the framework for granting captioning exemptions and target reductions to broadcasters, along with the complexity of rules for captioning on subscription television services.

The findings of ACMA’s report include:


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Complaints

Before lodging a complaint

Make sure that the problem you are experiencing is not caused by poor reception (scrambled captions on more than one channel are a typical example of this). For more information, go to the captioning problems section of this website.

How to lodge complaints

When making a complaint about captions, make sure you give enough information for the network to investigate it properly. You should


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High compliance in TV captioning during FY 2015–16… but more needs to be done.

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At last, some good news on the captioning front. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) reported in late December 2016 of a high level of compliance with captioning targets during the 2015-2016 financial year. However, their reporting period did not cover the back end of last year which saw multiple captioning issues emerge on the ABC and other networks, which proves more work needs to be done.

Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

ACMA advised on 21 December 2016 that TV services reported increased captioning in 2015–16, with compliance results reflecting the continued efforts by television services to meet, and in some cases exceed, their captioning target obligations.


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Progress with accessibility needed in New Zealand

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121 students took over New Zealand’s Parliament to debate about ‘Accessible Web Pages and Apps’. This was a mock bill aiming to improve accessibility in NZ.

Close up of person in a lecture browsing their laptop


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New Zealand holds an inquiry into captioning

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New Zealand’s Government Administration Committee has announced an inquiry into captioning, and is seeking submissions from the public.

Remote control being pointed at a TV with captions at the bottom of the screen

The inquiry’s terms of reference include:


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Audio description trial on iview ending soon

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The trial of audio description on the ABC’s online iview service, which commenced in April 2015, will soon be drawing to a close.

ABC iView logo


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Stan introduces closed captions

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The subscription television service Stan has quietly introduced closed captioning on a selection of its titles, with more to come. The service was criticised for not providing captions when it launched in January 2015.

Remote control held up in front of a TV


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US cable company launches talking TV guide

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The cable television company Comcast has added a ‘talking guide’ to its new X1 set-top box, allowing blind and vision impaired viewers to easily find content.

"A" hot button highlighted on X1 remote. Image credit: Comcast

The ‘talking guide’, which features a female voice, reads out program titles and other information, network names, time slots and settings. It will be made available to all Comcast customers in the next few weeks.


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Government announces review of the ACMA

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The Department of Communications is undertaking a comprehensive review of Australia’s communications regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), to ensure that the organisation is equipped to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing media landscape.

Silhoutte of a man pointing a remote control towards multiple screens


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Q&A with Robert Kingett: motivational speaker, author and video-on-demand accessibility advocate

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Media Access Australia spoke to Robert Kingett, accessibility advocate, motivational speaker, author of “Off the Grid: Living Blind Without the Internet” and creator of the Accessible Netflix Project – most recently successfully advocating for audio description on Netflix’s Daredevil series.

Robert Kingett in the WEBZ studio, wearing headphones and sitting behind a microphone


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