A Summary of The FCC’s New Video Description Rules

Posted by CLeininger on August 31, 2011 at 3:18 pm. Techy, Video Describers, Video Description

by Gerald Freda
CaptionMax President and Chief Operating Officer

On August 24, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission released a Report and Order to adopt rules requiring video description for certain television programming. The Commission had previously adopted rules requiring video description in 2000, but those rules were struck down by a federal court in 2002.

Then, in 2010, Congress enacted the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) and on October 08, 2010, President Obama signed CVAA giving the FCC the expressed authority to adopt video description rules.

As indicated in the Report and Order adopted on August 24, 2011, the directive reinstates the FCC’s video description rules on October 08, 2011 with modifications required by the CVAA. Based on the R&O here is what I have gleaned from the document.

Who does this effect?

- the top 4 national networks (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) located in the top 25 television markets and the top 5 non-broadcast networks (Nickelodeon/Nick At Nite, TBS, TNT, The Disney Channel & USA) must provide 50 hours per calendar quarter of video-described prime time and/or children’s programming

What are the other significant requirements?

- the 50 hours-per-quarter benchmark is defined as programming that is video-described (a.k.a. audio-described) for its original broadcast and one re-air

- broadcasters may count programming even if the program has aired previously but only for the first airing and second re-air

- broadcasters can count programs that they obtain with video description but only for the first and second airings

When do these requirements go into effect?

- full compliance for the top 4 national networks and top 5 non broadcast networks will begin as of July 01, 2012

- no provision was adopted for program selection as that will be up to the broadcaster to select the program

- no quality standards were adopted at this time and may be revisited

- any program aired with video description must always include description if re-aired by the same broadcaster

What are some other requirements?

- breaking news, live programming, and near-live programming are exempt

- a program owner or provider of programming may petition the FCC for an exemption caused by undue burden with economic hardship

- there is no provision for video description to be an included as part of an Internet-streamed program even if the program contained video description during its original broadcast

- mobile broadcast compliance for video description of the same program will be delayed until October 08, 2013

- the top 5 non-broadcast networks, determined by The Nielson Company, will be updated on a three-year interval


Fun Word Friday: Speciäl charäcters

Posted by Emma on August 19, 2011 at 8:51 am. Fun Word Friday

by Kirsten Dirkes

heavy metal umlaut: a totally extraneous umlaut on the name of a heavy metal band (example: Mötley Crüe.)  In a piece of extreme awesomeness, these are also known as röck döts. Take this awesome Heavy Metal Umlaut quiz to test your knowledge on extraneous umlauts.

obelus: the division sign

swash: an extended flourish on a letter

tittle: the dot over the letter i or j

umlaut and diaeresis: These may look the same (two side-by-side dots over the top of a letter), but they have different names because they perform different functions.
- An umlaut changes the pronunciation of a word.  For example, the German word schon (pronounced sort of like “shown”) means “soon,” but the word schön (pronounced sort of like “shoon” but not really (note to self: describing German pronunciation on an English blog is not your calling in life))  means “beautiful.”
- The diaeresis, on the other hand, indicates that the vowels are pronounced separately.  It’s not used much in English anymore, but an archaic example would be the word “coöperate,” in which the diaeresis tells you to separately pronounce each letter “o” instead of saying “coop” in the chicken sense.

Fun Word Friday: It’s a Jumble!

Posted by Emma on August 5, 2011 at 8:45 am. Fun Word Friday

by Kirsten Dirkes

An old drawing of an auroch.
(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

aurochs: an extinct animal that was the ancestor of modern cattle.  The last ones died in the 1600s from the usual causes.  This is the singular and the plural, so it goes “one aurochs, two aurochs.”  Actually, it went more like “two aurochs, one aurochs, no aurochs.”

A picture of a binnacle.
(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

binnacle: a tall case that protects a compass on a ship.  Very early binnacles were built using iron nails, which turned out to be a bit silly, since the iron interfered with the accuracy of the compass.  So you can imagine the problem created with the introduction of iron-clad ships.  But not to worry; good ol’ human ingenuity soon fixed this problem, and magnets were placed here and there within the binnacle housing to compensate.  They were even adjustable, just in case you were carrying a load of iron in your iron-clad ship.

A picture of a dolmen in Scotland.
(photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

dolmen: Well, I’ve tried to concisely describe a dolmen with text and have failed.  Take a couple big rocks, put them there, put another big rock on top as a sort of roof, and you’ve got the general idea of a dolmen.  Just look at the picture.  These thingies are generally 7,000 to 5,000 years old and were probably tombs.  Or maybe not.  Yeah, it’s all very sketchy.  Dolmens are found all over the world, though, so we can be sure that ancient people agreed about the all-around usefulness of a dolmen.

A dual and conflict, aka an internecine.
(photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

internecine: relating to conflict within a group; mutually destructive.  See “tontine.”

A picture of a person signing a contract.
(photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

tontine: a financial arrangement in which members contribute in equal amounts to a fund that is eventually claimed by the last surviving participant.  Or, to save time, you could just write “murder me” on your forehead.



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