Kiwis Promised Closed Captioning on Prime TV in 2016

November 17, 2015 BY EMILY GRIFFIN
Updated: January 4, 2018

New Zealand’s Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams announced in a press release that beginning in early 2016, Kiwis should see more closed captioning on Prime Television.

New Zealand lags behind the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia in broadcast captioning regulations. According to a 2013 captioning study, only 31% of Free to Air New Zealand Television is captioned. On Demand channels lack captioning, news is only partially captioned, and some channels don’t support live captioning at all.

A recent campaign to advocate for more comprehensive captioning on Kiwi television gained international press when its bad lipreading video went viral. The Captioning Working Group that commissioned the video aims to raise awareness for better accessibility to deaf or hard-of-hearing Kiwis.

Closed captions are necessary to make television accessible to people who can’t hear, and without it, a segment of the population misses out on important news, sports, and entertainment programming.

In response to demand, service providers Sky and Able will add closed captions to Prime Television in 2016. They will focus on local, NZ on Air-funded, and prime-time content first.

Minister Adams acknowledged the positive impact that increased captioning will have:

Extending captioning services to Prime will greatly assist deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders to access the television content that most of us take for granted.

For more about New Zealand closed captioning and web accessibility laws, download the whitepaper:

Read the free report: 2017 State of Captioning.

The closed caption CC icon shown in the middle of a TV.