Subscription TV

Foxtel launches captions on its movies on demand

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People who are Deaf or hearing impaired will have greater access to Foxtel’s content after the subscription service launched closed captioning for selected on demand movie services from 1 October this year. This move will see Foxtel provide closed captioning for the vast majority of new release movies aired across its 14 On Demand movie channels, plus instant access On Demand movies to iQ subscribers.

Head of Channel Partnerships Benjamin Cox told Media Access Australia that the introduction of closed captioned content was a response to the increasing popularity of its rental movies and TV shows.

“We’ve received a lot of customer feedback over the years and closed captioning for on demand content is something that has always been requested, particularly since video on demand has grown in usage over the recent years,” Cox said.

 “We’re heavily investing in captions for our linear channels and it makes sense to provide it across on demand services as well.”


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Lack of records hampers captioning complaint decision

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The broadcasting regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) was unable to make a judgement on a complaint about delayed captions on Da Vinci’s Demons on FX+2 due to a lack of records.

The complaint alleged that the captions were displaying considerably behind the dialogue on the +2 hours version of the program broadcast on 4 May 2013 on Foxtel. The investigation by the ACMA showed that although Foxtel was able to demonstrate that the original broadcast of the program two hours earlier was error-free and that it had no internal log of any problems on the plus 2 hours version, it did not have a copy of the program as transmitted and therefore could not show that there was no error.


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Foxtel’s online service launches without captions

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Foxtel yesterday launched Foxtel Play, a service which delivers TV programs via the internet to a variety of devices. Unfortunately for Deaf and hearing impaired viewers, captions are not yet available on it, as is the case with most video on demand services in Australia.

Foxtel Play offers a variety of packages, and will deliver content to PCs, Macs, Xbox 360 consoles and Samsung’s 2012 and 2013 smart TV models. Foxtel has told Media Access Australia that it is investigating caption functionality for the service, but does not yet have a date for when this will be delivered.


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Emergency information accessibility required in US

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Subscription TV providers and program owners in the USA have been ordered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make emergency information that appears in text accessible to people who are blind or vision impaired.

According to the new mandate, the video providers must provide an audible version of the emergency information, whether it is crawling text or graphics, so that it is accessible to the blind or vision impaired. Emergency information must also be prioritised over foreign language translation and video description. This is in line with changes brought by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act 2010 (CVAA). The new rules are to be applied within two years.


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