It’s no secret in our world of closed captioning that captions are in high demand in New Zealand. The government (along with several independent groups) has been working hard to catch the country up with other nations when it comes to closed captioning. One thing is clear, though: Kiwis want broadcasters to caption TV shows, movies and videos on the web.
New Zealand Online Video Captioning Rules
New Zealand adopted a Web Accessibility Standard as well as a Web Usability Standard in 2013. Both of these standards address web design requirements for all public government and internal government websites. Comprised of 4 phases, the plan is set to take total effect by June 2017.
These standards mean that web videos must have closed captions for prerecorded content. A grace period of 10 business days is allowed to make videos compliant. In addition, important news such as public safety and election announcements must also have live captioning. The implementation schedule is as follows:
New Zealand Broadcast Media Captioning Rules
Closed captioning of TV broadcasts in New Zealand is still being fought for as a civil right for the deaf and hearing impaired. Closed captioning for broadcast TV is not mandated by any New Zealand regulatory body. The country’s Human Rights Act of 1993 was amended in 2001, prohibiting disability discrimination; however, closed captions and other needs were never mentioned.
The good news is that there are some groups trying to make things better. Federally funded NZ On Air invests in TV, radio, music and digital media. They also provide some closed captioning and audio description services. NZ On Air formed Able, which is a closed caption and audio description provider. Able provides closed captions for TV ONE news as well as captions for certain shows on TV ONE and TV2. It also provides partial captioning on TV3 and FOUR, and audio description on selected shows on TV ONE and TV2. All of this is free to viewers and fully funded by NZ On Air. With an increased 2015/2016 budget, NZ On Air hopes to add additional captioning soon.
The Future Of Closed Captioning in New Zealand
As more and more people petition for closed captioning requirements, accessibility is becoming a social movement in the country. Interestingly enough, New Zealand has a history of being a leader in social change – so we’re hoping that captioning of all media is soon available to every one of their citizens.