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Lighten up captioning regs, MPAA tells FCC

WASHINGTON — The Motion Picture Assn. of America on Tuesday told the FCC it is in too much of a rush when it comes to setting deadlines for closed captioning of TV programming.

In January, the Federal Communications Commission proposed that all TV programming be closed captioned within 10 years. The MPAA says a more realistic approach would put off the deadline for closed captioning of library programming for 15 years.

The MPAA notes that a single program must be recaptioned several times, depending on how it has been edited for broadcast TV, cable networks and pay-per-view. “The MPAA estimates that the cost of captioning a 120-episode one-hour television series already being exhibited by 150 broadcast stations would total some $1.8 million,” the studio trade group said in its comments to the FCC.

The National Assn. of Broadcasters called the FCC’s transition plan reasonable, but like the MPAA, expressed concern about requirements for programs already in TV station libraries.

“For older programs that may air on only a few stations, it would be economically burdensome to require captions to be inserted, and doing so would almost certainly mean that those programs would not be aired,” the NAB told the FCC.

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