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FCC Increases Amount of Required Video Described Programming on Top-Rated Networks

July 12, 2017
Source: Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

On July 12, 2017, the FCC adopted new rules to ensure Americans who are blind or visually impaired have access to more video described programming. Video description, also called audio description, allows people with limited vision to hear a description of on-screen activity while also following the dialogue, providing a more complete entertainment experience.

Beginning in July 2018, broadcasters and pay-TV providers carrying one of the top networks must provide 87.5 hours of described programming per calendar quarter, which is an increase of 75 percent over the 50 hours per quarter presently required. Currently, the broadcast networks covered by the rule are ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and the non-broadcast networks are Disney Channel, History, TBS, TNT, and USA. This list will be updated next year to reflect the top five non-broadcast networks as of July 1, 2018 (as determined by Nielsen ratings).

Links to the Press Release:

Links to the Report and Order to Expand the Availability of Video Described Programming on Top-Rated Broadcast and Nonbroadcast Networks:

For further information about the item, please contact Will Schell, CGB/DRO, (202) 418-0767, email For those using videophones and fluent in American Sign Language, you may call the FCCs ASL Consumer Support Line at 844-432-2275 (videophone).

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