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Online TV clips will require captions starting in 2016

Online TV clips will require captions starting in 2016


The FCC is expanding its rules for closed captioning on the web

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Right now, companies are required to provide captions for full online videos that first aired on TV. But if those videos are cut up, caption readers are often out of luck — clips and montages don't require captions, even if the full shows aired with them. The FCC just changed that.

Starting in 2016, the FCC will expand its rules

The agency already has the authority to force TV broadcasters to add online captions, and created some rules for captioning videos in 2012. The FCC will now expand those rules: starting in 2016, companies will need to add captions to all clips. In 2017, they'll need to add captions to video montages and videos of TV that aired live.

Many companies voluntarily provide captions for these videos, but it's not a requirement. With TV content increasingly moving to digital — often in a form that's different from how it first aired — the FCC wants to cover as much ground as it can, although the rules won't apply to videos uploaded to third-party sites or apps. The FCC commissioners agreed unanimously on the rules, although there was some debate. Republican commissioner Ajit Pai reportedly said he hopes "the Commission will be flexible" in enforcing the rules, if caption technology doesn't move swiftly enough.