Research & policy

Canada makes captioning of commercials and promos mandatory

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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has made it a licence condition for all television commercials, sponsorship messages and promos to be closed captioned from 1 September.

Canada is the first country to make the captioning of commercials and promos compulsory, and is thus the first country to achieve what is in effect 100% captioning on TV broadcasts. While the voluntary captioning of commercials is common in Australia and many other countries, captioning of promos is very rare.


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Q&A: Improving inclusive and accessible design

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Media Access Australia spoke with Linda Leung, Associate Professor at the School of Software Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Technology Sydney, ahead of her presentation on inclusive and accessible service design at the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference in Melbourne.

The conference, being run at Swinburne University’s Hawthorn campus from 9-11 July, tackles a diverse range of issues in the media and communication space, including issues around disability and media access.


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Australia signs treaty to increase print access for blind and vision impaired

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On 23 June 2014, the Australian Government signed the ‘Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled’.

Last year, 51 countries signed the treaty, which will give blind and vision impaired people greater access to works in accessible formats like braille and audio. Currently, due to copyright restrictions, only between 1 and 7 percent of the world’s published books are made available in these formats.


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Red Bee Media releases caption quality report

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Red Bee Media Australia has released the first of a planned series of reports into the quality of its live captioning.

The report gives percentage scores for the accuracy of 21 news, sport and discussion programs which were captioned live. The scores were obtained using the NER Model developed by Pablo Romero Fresco of Roehampton University and Juan Martinez of the University of Barcelona.


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US communications regulator FCC seeks comment on tech accessibility

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The US communications regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has put out a call for industry and public comment on the accessibility of communications technologies.

The comment will help the FCC produce a report on the extent to which communication technologies are accessible, ongoing accessibility barriers of these technologies, as well as recordkeeping and enforcement of accessibility requirements.

The FCC is required to produce a report every two years on the level of industry compliance with the accessibility requirements of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act 2010 (CVAA).


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Claims EU, US accessibility rules are falling off the agenda

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Warnings have been issued that requirements to make websites accessible in Europe and the US are falling behind schedule.

In Europe, the European Blind Union (EBU) has issued a warning that the European Commission’s pledge — Directive 2004/18/EC — to make all public websites and websites providing basic services to citizens accessible by 2015 is slipping behind schedule.

The EBU claims that EU Ministers have not held any meaningful discussions on the directive since June 2013.


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Nine’s captioners audited for quality

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Ai-Media, the caption supplier for the Nine Network, has released the results of its first external caption quality audit, scoring more than 99% accuracy.

Measuring caption quality is an emerging field, with many different systems being tried around the world. Ai-Media’s audit was scored using the NER (Number, Edition error and Recognition error) system developed by Pablo Romero-Fresco and Juan Martinez. This model recognises that different kinds of errors have different impacts and therefore the quality measure should take this into account.


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Audio description seminar calls for papers

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The 5th Advanced Research Seminar on Audio Description (ARSAD) will be held in Barcelona on 19-20 March, 2015, and organisers are calling on experts and researchers in the field to submit papers for it.

The seminar, which was first held in 2007, is organised by the TransMedia Catalonia Research Group and the EU project HBB4ALL (Hybrid Broadcast Broadband For All) and is partially funded by the Spanish government. It “aims to bring together practitioners and researchers in order to advance the knowledge of current Audio Description (AD) practices and research”.


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Naughty behaviour from Canadian porn channel

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The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has warned Channel Zero, a Toronto-based company that provides three pornographic channels, that it is in breach of license regulations by not captioning 100 percent of content.

As reported in York Region news, the channels are currently up for licence renewal, and CRTC has the power to revoke licenses if caption requirements are not met. At a hearing on 28 April, a representative from Channel Zero said that it had increased its captioning staff to six to provide captions for AOV Adult Movie Channel, AOV Action Clips, AOV Maleflixxx and two non-pornographic channels, and these were now all in full compliance.


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UK media regulator releases first caption quality report

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On October 2013, the UK communications regulator Ofcom announced that it would be requiring broadcasters to measure and report on the quality of their live captioning, with four reports to be completed at six-monthly intervals over the next two years. The first of these reports has now been released.

Broadcasters are required to measure quality in sample of programs from three genres: news, entertainment and chat shows. The dimensions of quality to be measured are:


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