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Category: Captioning

Captioning on Broadcast Programs – an update.





Deaf Australia wishes to share with you an update on captioning of broadcast programs.

The current legislation, “Broadcasting Services Act,” requires broadcasters to caption a targeted number of hours of free-to-air and subscription programs that are broadcasted through its network each day. It does not include internet programs.
Within the Broadcasting Service Act, it has an exemption or target reduction clause for broadcasters to request caption exemptions or target reductions with the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) for considerations.
ACMA is responsible organisation that governs and regulates the communication services, including television, radio, internet and telecommunications.
Between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2016, a total of 279 requests for caption exemption or target reduction has been sought by broadcasters and only 38 requests have been declined. This represents about 85% of the requests being approved by ACMA – this is a significant concern for Deaf Australia as these exemptions do not take on board caption users’ rights and protections.
The Hon. Senator Mitch Fifield has recently announced the Broadcasting Licencing Fee Reform that will save broadcasters over 70 million dollars. These savings will encourage broadcasters to invest into niche groups, such as women’s sports, community programs and more. However, not one dollar of the savings will be invested into improve accessibility to program contents.
Deaf Australia wrote letters to relevant ministers across all parties raising these concerns because these actions do not reflect the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 which calls for all broadcast programs to be fully captioned.
Senator Rachael Siewert (Green Party) contacted Deaf Australia to seek and receive advice on the wording of Senator’s Siewert’s amendment to the Broadcasting Reform Bill (2017) to ensure that provisioning of captioning services on all broadcast programs aligns with the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020. We will also be discussing this issue with Senator Carol Brown (Labor Party) to address the Broadcasting Reform Bill.
Deaf Australia believes it is important that the Deaf Community is aware of these activities so that your interests and needs are addressed at the highest level and that everyone has full access to information.
Thank you.
Please note: Deaf Australia will continue advocate for inclusion of Auslan content on television programs.

ACMA prepares draft exemptions and target reduction for Fetch TV





Australian Communication and Media Authority are seeking Deaf Australia’s response to ACMA’s draft exemption and target reduction for Fetch TV.

For the following channels:

  • Baby TV
  • Bloomberg
  • CNBC Asia Pacific
  • CGTN (formerly CCTV News)
  • France 24 (English)
  • Euronews
  • NDTC 24×7
  • HGTV
  • Australian Christian Channel
  • Travel Channel
  • Food Network
  • Nat Geo Wild (reduce target)

Deaf Australia will not support any exemption or reduction of captioned programs on all broadcast programs (including subscription and free-to air networks) so deaf and hard of hearing people can have access to fewer captioned programs.

Here is what you can do…

Below are two templates you can copy, paste and then email to [email protected] or click the link below each template to automatically generate the email in your email program. Don’t forget to include your name at the end of the email!
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Template 1: Fetch TV subscribers (who pay a monthly subscription)

Dear ACMA Captioning
I am deaf/hard of hearing and I enjoy watching television programs that are captioned. Captioning is vital for me to be able to access information and entertainment.
The proposed draft exemption and target reductions for FetchTV will mean I will get fewer captioned programs and my access to information and entertainment will be reduced.
As a subscriber to your service, I pay the same amount as other subscribers yet under the proposed draft exemption and target reductions for Fetch TV I will have access to less content. I believe that this is unfair and inequitable.
ACMA, we ask that you do not approve the proposed draft exemption and target reductions for FetchTV meaning less access to captioned programs.
We must move forward to make programs more accessible, not less.
Regards,
(your name)
Click here to automatically generate this email in your email program
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Template 2: Non subscribers (people who do not currently have Fetch TV)

Dear ACMA Captioning,
I am deaf/hard of hearing and I enjoy watching television programs that are captioned. Captioning is vital for me to be able to access information and entertainment.
I am considering subscribing to Fetch TV but will not do so as, under the proposed draft exemption and target reductions for Fetch TV I will pay the same amount as other subscribers but will have access to less content. I believe that this is unfair and inequitable.
ACMA, we ask that you do not approve the proposed draft exemption and target reductions for FetchTV meaning less access to captioned programs.
We must move forward to make programs more accessible, not less.
Regards,
(your name)
Click here to automatically create this email in your email program

*Media Release*: Quality Caption for Deaf and Hard of Hearing – Not important

NT-Minister-gaff-media-release

Broadcasters and caption providers believe that standards for captions should not be based on metrics that can be properly measured. Instead, they prefer to stick with ambiguous and inconsistent ‘readability, comprehensibility and accuracy’ standards on the Review of Caption TV Standards.

More than 20% of Australian population rely on captions and it imperative that captions are treated in same way as audio is for non-deaf people. For many, captioned programs are their main source of information and enjoyment.
Deaf Australia believes caption standards should be metric-based that requires pre-recorded programs to be at least 99% accurate and live-streamed programs to be at least 95% accurate.
However, 8 of the 10 organisations (see table below) do not support metric-based standards as TV Caption Standards, and believes it is too difficult to monitor the quality of captions if metric-based standards are introduced.
‘It is extremely disappointing that other organisations does not value captions in same way as caption users do’, said Mr. Kyle Miers, Chief Executive of Deaf Australia, ‘the current standards of ‘readability, comprehensibility and accuracy’ are subjective and is neither clear nor useful for caption users and broadcasters’.
‘Deaf Australia believes that by having metric-based standards, it will be easy for caption users to understand minimum requirements for captioned programs and for broadcasters to commit to those standards’, said Mr. Miers. ‘It is important to note that none of the 8 organisations that does not support the metric-based standards are consumer based organisations, which raise questions of vested interests in the overall process’.
Deaf Australia calls for TV Caption Standards to be metric-based and for ACMA, broadcasters and caption providers to listen and respect the needs of consumers who use captioned programs as their main source of information and enjoyment.
Breakdown of organisation’s role and position:
Caption-Quality-not-important_Page_1
To read all submissions, including Deaf Australia’s, please go to:
http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/Consultations/Consultations/Current/review-of-tv-captioning-standard

On related matters:

In October last year, Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) conducted ONE public consultation on the Review of TV Caption Standards, and Deaf Australia believes this highlights how ACMA values captioning given the population’s use of captioned programs.

Captioning Deregulation (Commonwealth Government)

Captioning Deregulation — a person holds a remote control aimed at the television. The television is blurred, the focus on the remote control.

The Department of Communication is planning to change how captioning is controlled on free-to-air and Foxtel channels in Australia.

At the moment, there are regulations that mean channels must follow the captioning standards and report to ACMA about how well they are doing this.
The Government wants to change this, so that the channels do not have to do this reporting. They would prefer a system where individual people have to make a complaint it the captioning is not up to standard, because they say it will be easier and less work for the TV channels.
From July 2014 – free to air televisions are required to provide 100 per cent captioning from 6am to midnight on primary channels (Eg ABC, Channel 7, Channel 10 etc).
Under the new rules, if viewers are not happy with captioning they will have to make a complaint.
ACMA reported a high level of compliance with the annual captioning target requirements for 2012-13 reporting period. For instance, 100 per cent of commercial free to air and 99 percent of subscription broadcasters achieved their annual captioning target.
Deregulation means: 

  1. Free to air broadcasters do not need to provide an annual report.
  2. Any problems with captions, you have to lodge a complaint for any bad captioning.

Deaf Australia is keen to know what you think about these possible changes, so we can include your opinions in our submission to Government on 9 December 2014.
We have created a survey on our website for you to complete. Your feedback in the survey will help us better understand your issues on this important topic for Deaf people. The survey will be available to complete until 8am on Friday 5 December. 
Please contribute to this important survey.
[button url=”https://deafaustralia.org.au/advocacy/surveys/” class=”button” size=”large” color=”green-2″ target=”_self” lightbox_content=”” lightbox_description=””] Click here to go to the survey [/button]

Roundtable with Karen Peltz Strauss

The day before the M-Enabling Conference, Phil Harper organised, and Australian Communication Exchange sponsored, a roundtable meeting of invited people to meet with Karen Peltz Strauss who was one of the keynote presenters at the conference. Here’s a summary of what was discussed.

Captioning Working Group – Communique, September 2013

The captioning Working Group met for the second time on 22 August to progress further the purposes of the group.

Anton Sammons was invited as an independent member to the Captioning Working Group. We still have one available position for an independent person; please contact Karen Lloyd at [email protected] for more information.

A brief update:

Cooperative Campaign:
Alex Varley from Media Access Australia provided an update on the captioning campaign which Media Access Australia is conducting. It will identify and target several programs and encourage the participants to lodge complaints on these selected programs. The industry believes the problem of poor captioning is not systemic and will not review the issues systemically, unless they receive several complaints about the same issue on the same program. Media Access Australia currently has nine willing participants. If you wish to participate in this campaign, please contact Chris Mikul at Media Access Australia at [email protected].
Digital Inclusion and Disability Forum: 
Kyle Miers, convenor of the Working Group gave a presentation to participants attending this forum organised by Infoxchange. His presentation focused on digital inclusion for deaf people.  It was well received by participants who represented the community sector, local and state governments and the information technology industry. Infoxchange asked Kyle to write an article about communication access and this was distributed to over 90,000 subscribers. You can read the article here. 

Captioning Principles:
One of the highlights of this meeting was the discussions about Captioning Principles. We agreed on ‘5 Stars Captioning’ principles which will provide us with a platform for best practice, best strategies and benchmarking so that captioning is of a high standard across all media/ video formats. The ‘5 Stars Captioning’ principles will also assist with campaign strategies. The group will continue polishing up the ‘5 Stars Captioning’ principles in the next few weeks.
Once the ‘5 Stars Captioning’ principles is finalised, we will work on a strategy for how to improve captioning across all areas of concern.  This which will be discussed at the next meeting, to be held in November.

Captioning Working Group – Communique, May 2013

The Captioning Working Group, an initiative of Deaf Australia, met for the first time on 2nd May 2013 with representatives from Deaf Australia, Deaf Victoria, Deafness Forum of Australia, Action on Cinema Access, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Arts Access Victoria and Media Access Australia, to discuss captioning issues across all media formats.
The group agreed in principle the purposes of the Captioning Working Group which are:

  • To work as a unified front to address captioning issues across various media formats;
  • To undertake campaigns to promote increased access to caption content suitable for deaf and hard of hearing people in various formats; and
  • To keep abreast of research and identify best practice for delivery of captioning.

Ann Darwin, President of Deaf Australia welcomed the group and outlined the challenges going forward for the deaf sector. She expressed the hope that this Captioning Working Group will work together to achieve outcomes in the best interests of our consumers.
Two key priorities identified at this initial meetings, were:

  • The need to develop captioning principles, and
  • Undertake a cooperative campaign on television caption quality.

Captioning Principles:
The group identified that there is a need for captioning principles to be developed that will set the framework for the Working Group and the industry to work within; this will create harmony between consumers and industry.
Cooperative Campaign:
Captions shown on broadcast programs usually receive few complaints from consumers, which leads the industry to believe that problems are not systemic and usually believe the fault is with the region for poor reception or technical issues. This cooperative campaign will identify several programs and coordinate complaints from the community so that regulators and networks can see when problems are systemic and that they may need to reassess how they approach these issues systemically.
Digital Inclusion and Disability Forum
Kyle Miers, the convenor, informed the group that Deaf Australia received an invitation to present at the Digital Inclusion and Disability Forum held in Melbourne this month.
Membership of the Working Group
We are looking to include one more organisation representative so this group is inclusive and representative of all people who are deaf and hard of hearing. We received one Expression of Interest from an independent community member and wish to seek for one more independent community member. Interested people should send their expression of interest to Karen Lloyd at [email protected].
The group will meet once every 3 months and will meet again in August.

Captioning Working Group – Expressions of Interest

Deaf Australia is setting up a Captioning Working Group.

We want to bring together like-minded organisations and community groups to work co-operatively to:

  1. Work as a unified front to address captioning issues across various media formats
  2. Undertake campaigns to promote increased access to captioned content suitable for Deaf and hard of hearing people in various media formats
  3. Keep abreast of research and identify best practice for delivery of captioning.

The following organisations and community groups have been invited to send a representative to the Working Group: Deaf Australia, Deaf Victoria, Deafness Forum, AOCA, Media Access Australia and Arts Access Victoria.
We are also calling for Expressions of Interest for two independent community representatives to join the Working Group. Please see the Expressions of Interest document and the Terms of Reference and send your EOI in English or in Auslan to [email protected] by 26th April 2013.
[button url=”http://www.creativemindsdesign.com.au/DeafAustralia/Call%20for%20Expressions%20of%20Interest%20WorkingCaptioningGroup.pdf” class=”button” size=”large” color=”green” target=”_blank” lightbox_content=”” lightbox_description=””] Download the EOI Document (PDF 87KB) [/button] [button url=”http://www.creativemindsdesign.com.au/DeafAustralia/Terms%20of%20Ref%20Captioning%20Working%20Group%20v1.pdf” class=”button” size=”large” color=”green” target=”_blank” lightbox_content=”” lightbox_description=””] Download the Terms of Reference (PDF 100KB) [/button]

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