FCC Report and Order
Closed Captioning Quality
On February 20, 2014, the FCC unanimously approved new, more comprehensive rules for TV closed captioning that went into effect March 16, 2015. These rules ensure that deaf and hard of hearing viewers have full access and will apply to all television programming with captions. While this is great news for consumers, we know our clients may be concerned about how to stay compliant with these emerging regulations. CaptionMax helped draft the captioning vendor best practices and can guarantee to our clients that we are in compliance. Below is a summary of these best practices. To view the complete Report and Order on Closed Captioning Quality, visit the FCC's webpage.
Standards of Quality
This FCC order adopts new standards of quality for accuracy, synchronicity (timing), program completeness, and placement of closed captions, requiring that captions be:
- Accuracy: Captions must reflect the dialogue, sound effects, and music in the audio track to the greatest extent possible based on the type of the programming and must include speaker identification.
- Synchronicity: Captions must coincide with their corresponding dialogue, sound effects, and lyrics to the greatest extent possible based on the type of the programming, as well as appearing at a speed that is readable by viewers.
- Program Completeness: Captions must run from the beginning to the end of the program, to the greatest extent possible, based on the type of the programming.
- Placement: Captions may not cover up other important on-screen information, such as featured text, graphics, or other information critical to the comprehension of the program's content.
- Stipulate performance requirements in agreements that adhere to best practices for caption vendors and assure vendor's captioners are properly trained.
- Create a procedure for verifying that performance requirements are being met.
- QC offline captions periodically for accuracy of text and timing before air.
- Verify the presence of real-time captions during the live broadcast.
- Assure that prerecorded shows are captioned by offline captioners, with offline workflow, with some exceptions.
- Provide relevant prep materials, including proper names, song lyrics, show rundowns, etc.
- Create a protocol for troubleshooting captioning issues.
- Log caption issues and relay them to the caption vendor.
- Post caption vendor contact information where it can be easily seen, such as in the master control room.
- Develop metrics for assessing accuracy, synchronicity, completeness, and on-screen placement of real-time captions.
- Screen, train, and periodically evaluate all captioners.
- Maintain a reliable technical infrastructure to assure technical and other support to video programmers and captioners at all times.
- Verify captioners are prepared and in position prior to a scheduled project.
- Assure offline captions are verbatim, error-free, synchronized with the audio, and include speaker identifications and sound effects.
- Assure offline captions are displayed long enough to be read completely and that they do not obscure the visual content.
- Create or designate a manual of style to be applied in an effort to achieve uniformity in presentation.
- Develop technical and operational systems to assure live caption delivery is as fast and reliable as possible.
- Monitor captions and alert video programmers immediately if a technical issue needs to be addressed on their end.
- Review discrepancy reports, respond to video programmer and viewer concerns in a timely manner and make adjustments as necessary.
- Maintain awareness of developments in any aspect of the closed captioning process and their implications.
Exhaustive list? Yes. Intimidating and practically unattainable? No! Not to CaptionMax. We built our business on the principle of providing the highest quality standards in the industry. We've been adhering to these standards for 21 years- Without a mandate!
In addition to having a cutting-edge technical operations center and expert support staff, our production team is headed up by industry veterans who sought employment with CaptionMax because of our commitment to quality. They screen, train, and evaluate all of our captioners.
Our decades of experience and established internal systems will ensure that your captions are first-rate and comply with all FCC standards of quality.
Stay ahead of the curve! Rolling deadlines for compliance with captioning IP clips begin January 1, 2016.
All "straight-lift" clips will have to be captioned as of January 1st, 2016. By January 1, 2017, montages of clips will also have to be captioned. Live and near-live clips will have to be captioned as of July 1, 2017, but with a grace period of 12 hours for IP captioning live programming after airing on TV and an 8-hour grace period for near-live programming.
The mandate applies only to clips from programs that were originally captioned on TV, and only to sites owned or controlled by that TV distributor. It also does not apply to any library programming that predates the compliance deadlines.
To find out more about how captioning IP clips can be incorporated into your workflow, contact your CaptionMax representative.
- Minneapolis, MN
- (CaptionMax World Headquarters)
- 2438 27th Avenue South
- Minneapolis, MN 55406
- Phone: 612.341.3566
- Fax: 612.341.2345
- Burbank, CA
- 245 East Olive Avenue, Suite 600
- Burbank, CA 91502
- Phone: 818.295.2500
- Fax: 818.295.2509
- New York, NY
- 5 Columbus Circle
- Suite 810
- New York, NY 10019
- Phone: 212.462.0060
- Fax: 212.462.0061