The ACMA has completed its review of the TV Captioning Quality Standard and published its final report.
The review required the ACMA to consider the differences between live, ‘part-live’ and pre-recorded programs and how these affect the quality of television captions. ‘Part-live’ refers to programs that include both live and pre-recorded program material.
The ACMA was not authorised to determine that a lower quality of captioning service is acceptable for one kind of program or program material. This meant that the Standard could not state that the quality requirements (readability, accuracy and comprehensibility) for captioning were lower for live programs, ‘part-live’ programs or pre-recorded programs.
Outcome of the Review
After extensive consultation, the ACMA decided to maintain the current Standard’s approach to assessing the quality of captions.
The Standard assesses the quality of captions in the context of a program as a whole, including the circumstances of the broadcast and the nature of the program being broadcast.
The ACMA considered that this approach allows flexibility when assessing the captioning quality of different types of programming and ensures that captions are readable, accurate and comprehensible to deaf and hearing-impaired viewers.
Public consultation process
As part of the review, the ACMA undertook consultation with caption users, advocacy groups, captioning providers and the television industry.
This included hosting a Citizen conversations forum event titled Live captioning: let’s talk in September 2015, engaging with key stakeholders in September 2015 and October 2015, and issuing a discussion paper for public comment in November 2015.
The ACMA also gave detailed consideration to international approaches to the quality of captioning, including reviewing consultation processes currently being undertaken in the UK, USA and Canada.
Variation to the Standard
The ACMA has made a minor variation to the Standard to reflect its decision. The Standard now includes the following note under paragraph 6 of the Standard:
Note: Whilst noting that it is not authorised to determine that a lower quality of captioning service is acceptable for a kind of program or program material (see subsection 130ZZA(2B) of the Act), in determining this Standard, the ACMA has considered the differences (including time constraints for live content) between providing captioning services for live and pre-recorded television programs; and wholly live or wholly pre-recorded television programs and television programs that include both live and pre-recorded program material (see subsection 130ZZA(2A) of the Act).
Full details of the ACMA’s decision can be found in the final report. A copy of the variation and accompanying explanatory statement are also available below.
Downloads and links