WIN TV breach over Big Bang captions
Regional broadcaster says it didn't air captions because of an outdated rule which doesn't take affiliate changes into account.
WIN TV has been found to have breached the Broadcasting Services Act for failing to provide captions to episodes of The Big Bang Theory and Mom.
WIN TV in Shepparton screened both comedies in October without captions which are required for deaf and hearing impaired viewers.
WIN currently has an affiliation agreement with 10, which is due to change hands in July. The regional broadcaster told the Australian Communications & Media Authority the shows had been previously broadcast on its primary channel in 2016, whilst under an affiliation agreement with Nine, and that both programs had been captioned.
But while it is “totally reliant on our affiliate network to provide compliant programming” it currently sources the show from 10 which is not required to (separate rules apply for multichannels and non primetime).
“It is our opinion that the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 does not recognise this situation and was not considered when it was written,” WIN told ACMA.
“Unfortunately to rectify this problem it would require WIN to commission captions to be locally produced which would be cost prohibitive to our business and exceed any revenue received through airing the programmes.”
It added, “We request that the ACMA take into consideration that the BSA does not account for regional broadcasters swapping affiliation alliances and also a consideration that viewers have not received a lesser offering because if WIN and SCA had not swapped affiliation viewers would see the exact same offering but under different banners.”
ACMA ruled a breach nonetheless because it had previously broadcast the programs with captions on its main channel, or another multi-channel, in the same licence area.