Australia falling behind in video on demand captioning

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Wednesday, 14 August 2013 09:15am

Media Access Australia today released a report, Captioning on Video on Demand: It’s Time for Australia to Catch Up, which shows that most video on demand and catch up TV providers are failing to make their content accessible for Deaf and hearing impaired viewers.

“Consumers are increasingly watching TV programs and movies online, on a variety of devices,” said the author of the report, MAA’s TV Project Manager, Chris Mikul. “In Australia, the only networks which provide captioning on their catch up services are the ABC and SBS. The only Australian video on demand service to offer captioning on some content is iTunes.”

The report contrasts this with the situation in the US, where legislation passed in 2010 means that anything captioned for TV must have captions when distributed over the internet. Levels of captioning on catch up TV services in the UK are also significantly higher than in Australia.

If the commercial free-to-air and subscription television suppliers fail to provide captions on their video on demand services voluntarily, MAA is calling on the Federal Government to take action. It recommends that the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy undertake a consultation process involving a wide range of experts and interest groups, which would look at the technical and other issues involved, and report to the Government by the end of 2014.

The report has been officially launched on the first day of the M-Enabling Conference. For more information, see our media release [DOC 103 KB] .

Download the report

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