Streaming video programs shown on the Internet by U.S. broadcasters must be closed captioned.
Beginning March of next year, new Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) rules require that TV broadcasters must begin providing Closed Captions on programs that are streamed live (or "near-live") on the Internet simultaneously as they air on television. This rule, for example, would affect stations that live stream their daily news casts.
In Canada, the broadcast and telecom regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, “encourages” TV broadcasters to provide closed captioning for their programs that are available online.
The U.S. rules were adopted by the FCC as a result of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA.)
In January 2012, the FCC adopted rules implementing the CVAA's provisions governing Internet Protocol (IP) closed captioning.
Among other things, these rules established deadlines for captioning of IP programming that first aired on television with captions. The Rules apply to full length programs only, not clips.
The first deadline was September 30, 2012 for pre-recorded programming not edited for IP distribution. March 30, 2013 is the deadline for captioning of live or near-live programming and for pre-recorded programming edited for Internet distribution the deadline is September 30, 2013.
There are also deadlines for archived IP programming stretching out to March 2016 that must be captioned once those programs air on TV with captions.
The FCC rules define live and near-live as follows:
Live programming means video programming that is shown on television "substantially simultaneously" with its performance. Examples include news, sporting events, and awards shows.
Near-live programming means video programming that is performed and recorded less than 24 hour prior to the time it was first aired on TV. The presence of "pre-recorded elements" in "near-live" programming does not change the nature of such programming. A "pre-recorded" element example is a late-night show that is performed and recorded earlier the same day but that includes a segment that was performed and recorded more than 24 hours prior to its distribution on TV.
Stations that simultaneously live stream their news (or other) programs that air TV with captions should begin discussions with their Internet and web service contractors and take appropriate actions to seek live streaming captioning solutions that will allow broadcasters to comply with this upcoming March 30, 2013 deadline.
The FCC IP captioning fact sheet is available online at http://www.fcc.gov/guides/captioning-internet-video-programming.