FCC’s New Closed Captioning Rules Go Into Effect September 22

September 2, 2016 BY PATRICK LOFTUS
Updated: January 4, 2018

In February of this year, the FCC announced a decision to enhance the accessibility of TV broadcasting by dividing closed captioning responsibility between both video programming distributors (VPDs) and video programmers.


Last week, the FCC finally notified the public that the rule will go into effect starting September 22, 2016.

The announcement was published on the Federal Register on August 23.

What this means is that from September 22 on, responsibility for the quality of closed captions will now fall on video programmers, or those who produce the television programs.

Video program distributors (VPDs), the networks that air the programs on television, have traditionally been responsible for distributing and delivering closed captions, overseeing proper compliance with FCC regulations, and correcting any issues associated with closed captions received from individual video programmers (such as missing or low-quality captions).

Under this new rule, VPDs will maintain the primary role of ensuring that closed captions make it to broadcast, but video programmers will own the responsibility of providing high-quality closed captions.

From now on, video programmers will need to provide certifications directly to the FCC (instead of to VPDs) demonstrating proper compliance with closed captioning standards. Additionally, video programmers will now officially be held responsible by the FCC for failing to provide closed captions on any non-exempt programs.

The aim of this directive is to simplify closed captioning workflows and make the resolution of any issues associated with a particular television program’s closed captions a much more efficient process.


Download our free white paper on FCC rules for closed captioning.


Read the full new FCC directive: Commission’s Closed Captioning of Video Programming; Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc., Petition for Rulemaking Second Report and Order.


Read the free report: 2017 State of Captioning.

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