ACMA publishes preliminary captioning exemption orders for Telstra Pay TV

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Friday, 27 May 2016 10:04am

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has published preliminary exemption orders for 34 channels provided on Telstra Pay TV for mobile phones. These include both free-to-air channels such as ABC1, and channels available on Foxtel.

Silhouette of a man standing in front of a curved wall of lots of different TV screens.  Image Credit: Telstra Pay TV

Under the Broadcasting Services Act, the ACMA may grant captioning exemption orders to subscription television services if meeting caption quotas would cause them ‘unjustifiable hardship’. This is the fourth time that Telstra has applied for captioning exemptions for Telstra Pay TV, with the first exemption order coming into effect back in July 2012. The new preliminary exemption orders cover July 2015 to June 2016.

In past exemption applications, Telstra Pay TV has detailed the work it has done to introduce closed captions to its service, with the current application stating that captions would be implemented in February 2016. It has since advised the ACMA that technical difficulties meant this was not possible, and the only alternative would be to broadcast duplicate versions of the channels with open captions, making the service financially unviable.

The ACMA has issued preliminary exemption orders for the 34 channels on the grounds that not doing so would impose an ‘unjustifiable hardship’ which would likely see the service discontinued.

Submissions can be made to the ACMA regarding the preliminary exemption orders. The closing date for a submission regarding the BBC World Service is 14 June, and for the other channels, 16 June.

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