FCC sets captioning timetable for TV biz

WASHINGTON — The television industry has eight years to caption 95% of new programming and 10 years to caption 75% of library inventory, the FCC ruled Thursday.

Distributors, including broadcast networks, cable networks and syndicators, will be responsible for captioning the material, the Federal Communications Commission said. Most of the major broadcast and cable networks already caption most of their programming and will have no trouble complying with the regulation, according to Joseph Karlovits, president of Vitac, a Pennsylvania-based captioning company.

In an effort to ensure that the cost of captioning will not become an obstruction for fledgling programming services, the FCC ruled that a programming service does not have to spend more than 2% of its gross revenue on captioning; distributors and cable networks that have annual gross revenue of less than $3 million are exempt from the rule, which takes effect Jan. 1.

The FCC also set benchmarks for phasing in the captions during the next 10 years. By the first quarter of 2000, broadcasters, cablers, wireless cable and DBS services must caption at least 25% of their programming. The requirement will increase by 25% every two years.

Ads shorter than five minutes, non-English-language programming and latenight programming also are exempt from the captioning requirement.

More TV

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Board Approves Deals on Non-Primetime TV, Telemundo

    WASHINGTON — The television industry has eight years to caption 95% of new programming and 10 years to caption 75% of library inventory, the FCC ruled Thursday. Distributors, including broadcast networks, cable networks and syndicators, will be responsible for captioning the material, the Federal Communications Commission said. Most of the major broadcast and cable networks […]

  • Issa Rae, Natasha Rothwell and Yvonne

    'Insecure' Season 3 to Introduce New 'Timely' Show Within The Show

    WASHINGTON — The television industry has eight years to caption 95% of new programming and 10 years to caption 75% of library inventory, the FCC ruled Thursday. Distributors, including broadcast networks, cable networks and syndicators, will be responsible for captioning the material, the Federal Communications Commission said. Most of the major broadcast and cable networks […]

  • Nicole MainesVariety Studio Comic-Con, Day 3,

    Nicole Maines on Being TV's First Trans Superhero: 'I'm Nervous Because I Want to Do It Right'

    WASHINGTON — The television industry has eight years to caption 95% of new programming and 10 years to caption 75% of library inventory, the FCC ruled Thursday. Distributors, including broadcast networks, cable networks and syndicators, will be responsible for captioning the material, the Federal Communications Commission said. Most of the major broadcast and cable networks […]

  • Nicole Maines'The Trans List' film premiere,

    Warner Bros. Television SDCC Roundup: Nicole Maines Cast as First Transgender Superhero on 'Supergirl'

    WASHINGTON — The television industry has eight years to caption 95% of new programming and 10 years to caption 75% of library inventory, the FCC ruled Thursday. Distributors, including broadcast networks, cable networks and syndicators, will be responsible for captioning the material, the Federal Communications Commission said. Most of the major broadcast and cable networks […]

  • Man in the High Castle

    Amazon Renews 'The Man in the High Castle' for Season 4

    WASHINGTON — The television industry has eight years to caption 95% of new programming and 10 years to caption 75% of library inventory, the FCC ruled Thursday. Distributors, including broadcast networks, cable networks and syndicators, will be responsible for captioning the material, the Federal Communications Commission said. Most of the major broadcast and cable networks […]

  • SDCC News Roundup: First Look at

    SDCC News Roundup: 'Midnight Texas' Adds Three Cast Members, First Look at Live-Action 'Kim Possible'

    WASHINGTON — The television industry has eight years to caption 95% of new programming and 10 years to caption 75% of library inventory, the FCC ruled Thursday. Distributors, including broadcast networks, cable networks and syndicators, will be responsible for captioning the material, the Federal Communications Commission said. Most of the major broadcast and cable networks […]

  • 'Supergirl,' 'Arrow' Producers Stars Talk New

    'Supergirl,' 'Arrow' Producers Stars Talk New Cast Members, Showrunners

    WASHINGTON — The television industry has eight years to caption 95% of new programming and 10 years to caption 75% of library inventory, the FCC ruled Thursday. Distributors, including broadcast networks, cable networks and syndicators, will be responsible for captioning the material, the Federal Communications Commission said. Most of the major broadcast and cable networks […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content