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Regional broadcaster says it didn't air captions because of an outdated rule which doesn't take affiliate changes into account.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.

9 Responses

  1. I don’t care what Mr Gordon’s excuses are, it’s way past time that captions are mandatory for all programmes on all channels between 6pm and midnight.
    Ludicrous that modern shows like Hawaii 5-0 – which were captioned on primary channel when first screened – don’t have subtitles when repeated on BOLD.

    1. I think you will find that “shows like Hawaii 5-0 – which were captioned on primary channel when first screened” have captions when repeated on BOLD but it’s new episodes that aren’t captioned. If 7, 9 & 10 don’t provide captioned programs to WIN, Prime, SCA then the issue should be directed to 7, 9 & 10. In this instance the programs on 10 didn’t have to be captioned but ACMA dictates that they should have been captioned on WIN, broadcast at the same time on both networks.

      1. Both episodes of Thursday evening’s H50 screened on BOLD (Sydney feed) did not feature subtitles. Even though there were subtitles for these two episodes when first screened on TEN. The rules are – I understand – that if the show has played on the main channel with captions, then captions must be featured on the secondary channel when the programme is rescreened.
        Methinks TEN should be reported for their slack attitude.
        7 seems to make the effort.

  2. Gee. That’s pretty tough for Win given that it was an issue with Network Ten not providing captions. At least ACMA don’t have any actual powers to do anything in this case.

    1. As captioning is rarely on new episodes of current series on BOLD etc – Hawaii Five-0, Scorpion, Macgyver – one has to assume that captions cost extra if supplied by the distributor. It seems bizarre that WIN would have to caption programs on secondary channels when 10 doesn’t have to caption the same program.I’d imagine the playout technicalities would be a nightmare.

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