iTunes to Remove Movies & TV Shows from US Store Unless They Have Closed Captions

June 26, 2015 BY EMILY GRIFFIN
Updated: February 6, 2018

Next week is the June 30th deadline for television and movie distributors to make sure their iTunes videos are captioned. Starting July 1, 2015, iTunes will pull video content from their US store if it doesn’t include closed captioning.

The deadline coincides with the release of a new version of iTunes and iOS 8.4.

FCC & CVAA Closed Captioning Rules

The US iTunes store is subject to FCC regulation for digital media distribution. The FCC has clear closed captioning rules for films and television that demand comprehensive, accurate, timely, and well-placed captions for video broadcasting.

The 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) extended the FCC’s jurisdiction into online video as well.

The CVAA stipulates that all video content that previously aired on US television with captions must be distributed online with captions. Several deadlines for CVAA closed captioning compliance have come and gone, so remaining uncaptioned video on iTunes is a legal liability for Apple.

Content creators must provide closed captions for their videos, but the distributor is also responsible for serving only FCC-compliant content in US digital markets.

Searching for movies and TV shows in iTunes store with a closed caption filterAs of last month, up to 18% of video content on the iTunes market lacked captions. Even popular Hollywood films would be at risk of removal.

Closed Captioned Video on iTunes

You can find iTunes video content with closed captions by browsing and looking for the “CC” symbol under the title, or by searching for movies and TV shows with a closed caption filter.

Adding Closed Captions to iTunes Video

If you have uncaptioned video on iTunes, you’ll want to remedy that as soon as possible or else risk getting it removed from the US store. Make sure to hire an FCC compliant closed captioning company that can deliver high-quality, accurate captions quickly.

If your movie or TV show is not in English or Spanish, closed captions for the spoken language are not required. However, you must include subtitles for the deaf and hard of hear (SDH).

iTunes requires that any new bonus video content, like trailers, previews, or clips, include closed captions if they’re uploaded after this deadline.

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