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2017 CVAA Captioning Requirements Approaching

Posted by Anna on December 2, 2016 at 11:08 am. CVAA, Captioning
President Obama signs the CVAA into law

President Obama signs the CVAA into law

As 2017 draws near, so do the final captioning requirements for the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, or CVAA. Signed into law in 2010, CVAA video programming requirements were designed to keep content accessible to disabled users as new technologies and modes of distribution emerged.

Since January 1, 2016 it has been required that all IP-delivered “straight lift” clips, meaning a single excerpt of television that was broadcast with captions, must also be captioned, regardless of content length or type.  ”Montages,” files containing multiple straight lift clips, will also required to be captioned beginning January 1, 2017.

Starting July 1, 2017, clips from live programming must be captioned. Unlike prerecorded material, live programming is permitted up to a 12-hour delay after airtime to post captioned clips with up to an 8-hour delay for near-live programming.

For programming that has already aired with captions, video programming distributors are required to post captioned clips of their content to their own websites or apps. However, at this time, these rules do not apply to third party websites or apps.

CaptionMax has helped many clients meet CVAA captioning requirements for IP-delivered clips. To learn more about how we can help your organization become compliant, contact your CaptionMax representative or sales@captionmax.com.

How To Celebrate The Fifth Annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Posted by Anna on May 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm. ADA, CVAA, Captioners, Captioning, DOJ, Video Description, WCAG
Global Accessibility Awareness Day logo against a cloudy blue sky

Global Accessibility Awareness Day logo against a cloudy blue sky

Tomorrow marks the fifth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), and the story of how GAAD came to be is every bit as modern as the cause it champions:

“The idea of a Global Accessibility Awareness Day started with a single blog post written by a Los Angeles-based web developer,Joe DevonJennison Asuncion, an accessibility professional from Toronto discovered Joe’s blog post purely by accident thanks to Twitter. After reading it, he immediately contacted Joe and they joined forces, leveraging their extensive and respective networks to realize the event.”

Beginning in 2015, rather than using a fixed date, Devon and Asuncion decided to mark GAAD on the third Thursday of May. On their website, they provide a full list of in person and online events that the public is welcome to take part of.

At a time when website accessibility regulations are popping up everywhere, these events are a perfect opportunity to learn more about the future of online accessibility.

To learn how you can make your online video content accessible, contact sales@captionmax.com.

FCC Proposes Rules to Expand Video Description Access

Posted by Anna on April 5, 2016 at 9:00 am. CVAA, FCC, Video Describers, Video Description
Video Description Symbol In White And Gray Tones

Video Description Symbol In White And Gray Tones

On April 1, 2016, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to expand the availability of video described programming. Video description makes video programming accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired by enabling audio-narration to describe key visual elements of a television program during pauses in the dialogue. This came shortly after the Disability Advisory Council Video Programming Subcommittee presented a list of issues to be considered should the FCC decide to issue a NPRM of this type.

The FCC proposes the following key rule changes:

Increase the amount of described programming on each included network carried by a covered broadcast station or multichannel video programming distributor, from 50 hours per calendar quarter to 87.5 (a 75% increase);

Increase the number of networks required to provide video description from four broadcast and five non-broadcast networks to five broadcast and ten non-broadcast networks;

Create a “no-backsliding” rule, so a network would remain subject to the rules even if it is no longer one of the top five or top ten ranking networks; and

Require video programming distributors to provide proper customer support contacts in order to improve consumer access to video description.

The NPRM also seeks comment on other matters, such as a potential requirement for described video-on-demand programming, a dedicated audio stream for video description, and a change of terminology from “video described” to “audio described.”

Comment and reply comment due dates will be announced once the Notice is published in the Federal Register.

To find out more about how you can have your program video described, contact your CaptionMax representative or sales@captionmax.com.

FCC Disability Advisory Committee Issues Recommendations Regarding Video Description NPRM

Posted by Anna on March 4, 2016 at 10:30 am. CVAA, FCC, Video Description
FCC Disability Advisory Committee Meeting Graphic - February 23, 2016

FCC Disability Advisory Committee Meeting Graphic - February 23, 2016

Last week, the FCC Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) held their quarterly meeting. Among the many topics that were discussed, the Video Description Working Group, a part of the DAC Video Programming Subcommittee, presented a list of issues that should be considered if the FCC decides to issue a Notice  of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to determine whether to increase the number of hours of video-described programming, which was approved and adopted by the DAC.

Currently the FCC rules require the top four commercial television broadcast networks and the top five national non-broadcast networks (the “covered networks”) to provide at least 50 hours per quarter of prime time or children’s programming with video description. They are prohibited from issuing additional video description rules unless it determines, no earlier than June 30, 2016, “that the need for and benefits of providing video description for video programming, insofar as such programming is transmitted for display on television, are greater than the technical and economic costs of providing such additional programming.”  If the FCC if does decide that the need for and benefits of providing video description for video programming displayed on television are greater than the technical and economic costs of providing such additional programming, the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) prohibits the FCC from increasing the amount of required video-described programming by more than 75% of the current requirement.

The following are the issues that the were adopted by the DAC for the FCC to consider:

What is the extent of current consumer use of video- described programming required under the existing rules? Are there any studies or metrics on such use?

Would an increase in the number of mandated hours of video-described programming introduce any technical or operational problems?

What are the financial, operational, and/or opportunity costs of providing additional video-described programming? How should they be measured and quantified?

Since the Act instructs the FCC to weigh the costs of additional video-described programming against the benefits of and needs for such programming, how should the FCC measure the benefits and assess the needs?

If the FCC were to increase the number of required hours of video-described programming, should its rules take into account program schedules that contain less than the required number of hours of prime time or children’s programming that could be video-described? For example, NCTA previously urged the FCC to modify its rules to provide flexibility to networks that may air a significant amount of live prime time programming in a given quarter that would be inappropriate for video description.

If the FCC were to modify its rules to take into account quarters in which a covered network airs less than the required number of hours of prime time or children’s programming that could be video-described, should an affected network be required to file for a waiver based on its anticipated program schedule? Or should any revised rule avoid the need for FCC pre-approval by allowing the network to make a showing in response to a complaint?

If the FCC were to increase the required number of hours of video-described programming, should programmers be allowed to count toward compliance not only prime time or children’s programming, but other categories of programming, too?

If the FCC were to increase the required number of hours of video-described programming, should it relax its rules on counting repeat programming?

If you are interested in learning how to add video description to your accessibility strategy, contact us at sales@captionmax.com.

Technology And Engineering Emmys Recognize Achievements In Non-live Broadband Captioning

Posted by Anna on January 29, 2016 at 10:45 am. CVAA, Captioning
W3C Representatives Holding Their Emmy Award Statue

W3C Representatives Holding Their Emmy Award Statue

Earlier this month, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the 67th annual Technology and Engineering Emmy ® Awards were held.  For the first time, awards were given for the category of Standardization and Pioneering Development of Non-Live Broadband Captioning.  There were a  total of five winners in this category.  Among them was the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international consortium that develops Web standards, recognized for their Timed Text Markup Language (TTML) standard:

“W3C is thrilled to receive a 2016 Emmy ® Award in recognition of technologies that support an important part of our mission to bring the full potential of the World Wide Web to everyone, whatever their disability, culture, language, device or network infrastructure,” said W3C CEO Dr. Jeff Jaffe. “I would like to thank the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for their recognition of W3C, and I congratulate the members of the W3C Timed Text Working Group and the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative on this outstanding achievement.”

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®) was recognized for their SMPTE-TT standard, which was largely based on the TTML standard W3C created. The SMPTE-TT was declared a safe harbor interchange and delivery format by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), meaning any captioned video content distributed via the Internet using the SMPTE-TT standard is compliant with the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). In their press release, SMPTE director of standards and engineering Peter Symes acknowledged the collective effort and talent that was required to develop SMPTE-TT:

“A SMPTE committee of more than 60 experts from many industry sectors developed the set of standards that provide for authoring captions and for carriage of captions already created for conventional television transmission. SMPTE Members Ann Marie Rohaly, Craig Cuttner, and Mike Dolan, and many other volunteers, have dedicated hours of service to make our work on captioning standards useful to the industry, and their remarkable efforts are deserving of this prestigious award.”

Telestream, Netflix, and Home Box Office (HBO) were also recipients in this category.

CaptionMax 2015 Consumer Advisory Board Meeting

Posted by Anna on September 29, 2015 at 11:00 am. CVAA, Consumer Advisory Board, FCC, Video Describers, Video Description
CaptionMax executives, production staff, and Consumer Advisory Board members seated at a conference table

CaptionMax executives, production staff, and Consumer Advisory Board members seated at a conference table

September 26th marked CaptionMax’s 18th annual Consumer Advisory Board meeting, which was every bit as fun as it was productive. Our board members are consumers of video description and closed captioning, consumer advocates, and educators of blind and deaf children. They travel from near and far to come together and discuss the finer points of media accessibility, particularly within the realm of video description.

CaptionMax CAB members: Tim, Cathy, Ardis, and Joya

CaptionMax CAB members: Tim, Cathy, Ardis, and Joya

In addition to talking about larger regulatory facets of description, like the expansion from the top 25 largest local affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox to the top 60 television markets for the top four broadcast networks, the board discussed a number of scenarios that come up frequently. These scenarios included the best way to describe transitional shots, archaic technology, camera effects, flashbacks, and flash-forwards.  There was also a great deal of discussion regarding the nuance that goes into creating voice-over for different types of programming.

Our menu of topics for the day

Our menu of topics for the day

We owe a debt of gratitude to our board members for the time they spend with us each year. The wealth of insight their diversity of experience brings to our organization helps refine our best practices and grow our expertise in the field of media accessibility.

CaptionMax CAB members: Tim, Ardis, Cathy, Joya, and Jordan

CaptionMax CAB members: Tim, Ardis, Cathy, Joya, and Jordan

FCC Deadline: IP Clips Must Be Captioned January 2016

Posted by Anna on August 25, 2015 at 2:30 pm. CVAA, Captioning, FCC

FCC Logo

Another FCC deadline is right around the corner.  Beginning January 2016, all IP-delivered video clips taken from programming that was originally broadcast with closed captions will have to be captioned as well.  This milestone of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act only applies to “straight-lift” clips, which contain a single excerpt of a captioned television program with the same video and audio that was presented on television. “Montages,” which contain multiple straight-lift clips, will need to be captioned starting January 2017.

The FCC interpreted the CVAA to require closed captioning of IP-delivered video clips regardless of the content or length of the clip. While some commenters argued that the mandate should only apply the closed captioning requirements to clips with certain content or above a certain length, the FCC disagreed. They firmly believe Congress’s intent in enacting the CVAA was to ensure that consumers who are deaf or hard of hearing have full access to video programming that is shown on television with captions, including any video programming posted online as video clips. Whether those video clips contain news, sports, entertainment, or any other type of content is immaterial. They conclude that by making a clip available via the Internet, a video programming distributor or provider has made a conscious decision that it has value for the general public, regardless of whether it is 10 seconds or 10 minutes long.

This will no doubt be a welcome change for the millions of deaf Americans that are currently without access to the vast majority of IP-clips. While rates have certainly improved over the years, the most recent data that Consumer Groups submitted to the FCC in February 2014 indicated that only 57 percent of news clips and 18 percent of non-news clips are captioned, leaving many citizens cut off from critical news programming and important cultural touchstones.

CaptionMax is already working with many of our clients to help them customize a workflow so they can become compliant with this mandate before it goes into effect. We strongly encourage all of our clients to begin discussions with us today to ensure there is adequate time to define, develop, and test a new workflow prior to the January 1st deadline. To receive more information on how to incorporate the closed captioning of IP-delivered clips into your post-production workflow, contact your CaptionMax representative or sales@captionmax.com.

 

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