Commercial television broadcast stations that are affiliated with one of the top four commercial television broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) and are located in the top 60 television markets are required to provide 50 hours per calendar quarter of video-described prime time or children’s programming, and to provide an additional 37.5 hours of video-described programming per calendar quarter at any time between 6 a.m. and midnight. Other network affiliated stations outside the Top 60 markets must pass through any video-described programming provided by their network. Video description provides an explanation of the action in a TV program that is not evident from the dialog, so that those with visual disabilities can understand what is happening in a TV program. Video description was mandated by Congress, and the FCC yesterday issued a Public Notice asking for comment on this requirement for a report to Congress.
Specifically, the FCC is asking parties to comment on the following questions:
- The types of described video programming that are available to consumers;
- Consumer use of such programming;
- The costs to program owners, providers, and distributors of creating such programming;
- The potential costs to program owners, providers, and distributors in designated market areas outside of the top 60 of creating such programming;
- The benefits to consumers of such programming;
- The amount of such programming currently available; and
- The need for additional described programming in designated market areas outside the top 60
Comments are due by April 1, and reply comments should be filed by May 1.