March 20, 2019

FCC Reinstates Video Description Rules

Andrew Phillips, National Association of the Deaf; Eric Bridges, American Council of the Blind; Mark Richert, American Foundation for the Blind; and Jenifer Simpson, American Association of People with Disabilities, outside the FCC building, Washington DC, after meetings on pending rules under 21st CVAA.

Andrew Phillips, National Association of the Deaf; Eric Bridges, American Council of the Blind; Mark Richert, American Foundation for the Blind; and Jenifer Simpson, American Association of People with Disabilities, outside the FCC building, Washington DC, after meetings on pending rules under 21st CVAA.

The Federal Communications Commission voted today to restore the television video description regulations that were passed as part of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. The effective date of the order, which passed the commission 4-0, is July 1, 2012. The following summary of the regulations was prepared by the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology, which was instrumental to the passage of the new rules.

•Video description is defined as the narrated descriptions of a television program’s key visual elements inserted into natural pauses in the program’s dialogue.

•Video descriptions improve access to television programs for millions of Americans who are blind or visually impaired.

•The video description rules require ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC affiliates in the top 25 market areas and cable and satellite television providers with more than 50,000 subscribers to provide video description.

•ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, USA, the Disney Channel, TNT, Nickelodeon, and TBS are each required to provide 50 hours of video-described prime time or children’s programming per calendar quarter.

•Full compliance with the rules is required on July 1, 2012.

The complete report and order along with other related documents and statements are available on the COAT website.