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. Network Ten’s One had the lowest level at just 5%.
Caption levels on the ABC’s three multichannels, ABC News 24, ABC2 and ABC3, are by contrast very high, with 96% of programs on ABC2 captioned during the survey period.
The Nine Network’s GO!, which commenced broadcasting in August 2009, was the first commercial digital multichannel. While the content on these channels was initially mainly confined to repeats, they are increasingly screening new episodes of programs which were previously on primary channels, such as the latest series of Survivor, currently screening on GO!, and Futurama and The Office on Eleven.
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