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FCC Fails to Expand More Video Described Networks

FCC Fails to Expand More Video Described Networks

The National Cable and Telecommunications Act (NCTA) has come in between FCC’s proposal to increase the number of networks mandated to provide video description programming.

Back in March of this year, the FCC attempted to expand its video-described programming rules to include the top ten cable networks in their latest endeavor to implement updates on the 21st Century CVAA.

Currently, the requirements only apply to the top four broadcast stations ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC as well as the top five non-broadcast networks. Had the policy change been approved, the requirements would extend to the top five broadcast stations and top ten non-broadcast nets.

The proposition is a Notice of Proposed Rule-making and the Commission’s latest effort in creating and promoting universal communications access. Video description is an audio narration of a television program’s major visual elements that is inserted into the natural pauses in dialogue, and it serves as a way of improving television programming accessibility for individuals that are blind or suffer from visual impairment.

Specifically, the NPRM conditions include:FCC Fails to Expand More Video Described Networks

  • Increasing the amount of video described programming on each already included network from 50 hours per calendar quarter to 87.5 hours, marking a 75% increase.
  • Growing the number of networks subjected to these rules.
  • Adoption of the “no backslide” rule, in which networks will still have to follow requirements even if they should ever fall out of the top five and top ten ranking.
  • Removing the threshold criteria that non-broadcast must reach a minimum of 50% paid TV households in order to be included in the video description rules.
  • Requiring each broadcast station to provide experienced and knowledgeable customer service workers who can assist customers on any video description related issues.

The NCTA believes the Commission has overstepped its bounds, saying,

Contrary to the assumptions embodied in the Notice, the Commission’s ‘continuing authority’ to adopt additional video description requirements of any kind is carefully constrained and specifically delimited.

Furthermore, the group has criticized the “no backsliding rule” as unreasonable. “Requiring a network that has slipped out of the top five (or ten) to continue to shoulder the same financial costs of creating new video-described programming as its more highly-rated and financially successful peers would be unfair.”

Only time will tell what will happen next.

Accessibility

Nicole is CMO for cielo24 and enjoys finding ways to deliver video data solutions for media content creators across all industries, and for very special people, like you.