FCC Ruling Enforces Closed Captioning For Television Streaming

In a move that will make video streaming more accessible, the Federal Communications Commission will require all television broadcasters to begin providing Closed Captioning for programs that are streamed live or near-live over the internet in March of next year. Similar to those rules in place for traditional television, the new requirement will ensure the hearing-impaired can access online streaming content.

The March 2013 deadline is the latest of three that have been used to establish the new rule by the FCC. Previously broadcasters were required to ensure that all pre-recorded programming that was being streamed online had accessible Closed Captioning. The March 2013 deadline is next, requiring that all broadcasters feature Closed Captioning in live or near live programming. Lastly a September 2013 deadline requires all broadcasters are 100% compliant with both live and pre-recorded programming that features Closed Captioning.

The ruling is only in-effect for full-length shows, not shorter clips. The deadline will have a huge impact on news organizations that currently stream there live TV broadcasts via the internet. Additionally all three major video streaming companies–Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon–have been working to fully implement subtitles and Closed Caption features into their services. YouTube currently offers a Closed Caption button on nearly all of its videos.

By enforcing this rule on all television broadcasters the FCC hopes to bring video streaming Closed Captioning into a more uniform manners, ensuring that those individuals who are hearing-impaired are offered a comparable Closed Captioning service as they have come to expect from traditional televisions.

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