Nine slips up on captions for Two and a Half Men

GTV9 Melbourne failed to provide accurate captions for episodes of Two and a Half Men in February, the media watchdog has discovered.

Under the Broadcasting Services Act, each commercial network must provide a captioning service for programs transmitted during primetime.

But the Australian Communications and Media Authority has upheld a complaint that captions for the US sitcom were delayed, causing problems for the hearing impaired.

A complainant told ACMA: “Channel Nine appeared to have this issue for several days, in particular the 28th of February. Nearly all programs had this issue. I contacted Channel Nine multiple times and advised them, their switchboard said they would pass it on to their technical people. In the mean time I tested the TV and used an alternative TV to check the problem was not my receiver.”

Nine initially said it couldn’t find any delay in its copies but acknowledged it had received some compaints of 3-5 seconds.

“Nine believes that even taking into account the delay, the captions were comprehensible to the hearing impaired. While the tapes do not show a delay, we do accept there was a delay in the captions.”

But it later confirmed, “The delay was evident for a substantial part of the program and some delay applied to the whole evening’s programs (excepting those programs that were captioned live).”

16 Comments:

  1. @Neon Kitten – ” “Channel Nine appeared to have this issue for several days, in particular the 28th of February. Nearly all programs had this issue. ”
    The complainant said “Nearly all programs had this issue.”
    The mere fact that the newer digital channels don’t have captioning means deaf people don’t watch them, except ABC24 which is captioned but not 100%.
    Is there a suggestion in yourresponse that there is something intellectually deficient in me if I were to make a captioning complaint and mention one of the programs affected?
    Thank you Gary. Well said.

  2. Armchair Analyst

    Not maintaing the captions is not their only problem. They have failed to update their epg. Whenever i watch nine and a want to know what a particular episode i about all i can get on the epg is the title of the episode itself nothing more. I dont understand why that is just so hard.

  3. Another good reason for capturing is to be able to watch shows when you have young children either being too noisy but you don’t want to drain them out with the tv volume or when you don’t want to disturb them when sleeping.

    You’d all be very surprised just how often titles are out of synch with shows. Not just live, but scripted as well. Only on screen captioning on sbs for foreign language programming seem to be right.

  4. I too can’t believe people would be so ignorant of the need for effective closed captions. Yes Two and a Half Men is *ahem* everyone’s favourite, but the point of this article was not the show but the network failing to provide a much needed service. David – Foxtel offers no closed captioning on a huge amount of shows, this needs to be addressed beyond the times when the AMCA actually draws attention to it.

  5. @Neon Kitten and Everyone else

    I know people who are hearing impaired and need this service. The fact you are ridiculing this is ridiculous. Sorry but it is. Captions are important and sure its a shit show but the fact remains captioning on this network in particular has been bad. Also TEN and Nine with The Block, Masterchef and Renovators all have “Live” captions. These are pre-recorded shows. Why do they need Live captions? Seven, ABC and SBS are the only ones who do this right. They even caption on their digital channels. GO!, Gem and Eleven are very poor when it comes to captioning. This is a huge issue. Just because you can hear not everyone can.

  6. What about the TV Week Logie Awards. There was no captions what so ever for the entire broadcast. This was despite there being captions on 60 Minutes beforehand. As soon as the broadcast started no captions appeared. This was on NBN but i take it Nine possibly had the same problem

  7. Since by its very nature live captioning has a delay from when the audio is heard and when the words are typed up and appear on our screens, then Nine’s comment that “The delay was evident for a substantial part of the program and some delay applied to the whole evening’s programs (excepting those programs that were captioned live)” is funny because that means everything was delayed.

  8. The fact that someone complained about out-of-sync captions to what was probably the 100th run of an episode of one of the least important TV shows in history speaks volumes about the complainant.

    Great choice of photo by the way 🙂

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