Highlights of 2013: Foxtel’s On Demand movies captioned

Error message

Deprecated function: Array and string offset access syntax with curly braces is deprecated in include_once() (line 14 of /home/mediacc/public_html/themes/engines/phptemplate/phptemplate.engine).
Friday, 20 December 2013 13:58pm

Deaf and hearing impaired viewers have seen large increases in caption levels on television in recent years, but at the same time have been frustrated by a lack of captions on video on demand and catch-up TV services. That makes Foxtel’s decision to provide captions on 14 of its On Demand services from 1 October all the more welcome.

As well as captioning the majority of new releases on the On Demand channels (which are released on the same day as the DVD),  Foxtel is also providing half of the free on demand content that subscribers can access through the iQ section of their iQ or MyStar set top boxes.

Benjamin Cox, Foxtel’s Head of Channel Production, told Media Access Australia that “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.”

Foxtel is now the only commercial video on demand (VOD) service in Australia to offer captioning, while the ABC’s iView and SBS’s online player are the only captioned catch-up TV services. This contrasts starkly with the situation in the US, where the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 states that any full length programs which have been captioned for broadcast must also be captioned if distributed over the internet.

In August, Media Access Australia released a report, Captioning on Video on Demand: It’s Time for Australia to Catch Up, which looks at the situation here and overseas This recommends that a consultation process should take place between the Federal Government and VOD service providers, with regulations covering access to VOD to be included in the Broadcasting Services Act, as part of a review of the act scheduled to take place by the end of 2015.

Top of page