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Accessibility: Coming NOW to a computer near you!

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Jennifer Beer

Accessibility: Coming NOW to a computer near you!

Captions have been part of broadcast television for decades. When I worked in television, the rule was simply, “If there are words in English, you have to caption it.”

Online, however, is the Wild West. There is confusion about whether captioning is required by legislation. Are Ontario broadcasters bound by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)? Or, since broadcast is federally regulated, can they overlook provincial legislation, and wait until captioning is required by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)?

Happily, some broadcasters are already jumping on the accessibility bandwagon! And considering the number of people who discreetly watch online video at work with the sound off, it’s not just about accessibility – it’s a business opportunity, too.

Shaw Media recently announced that they are captioning their online content, with 1,300 fully-captioned episodes of popular shows like NCIS: Los Angeles and ET Canada already available, and more being added every day. It’s the most extensive offering from any Canadian broadcaster, so far. Closed captioning is currently available on six of Shaw Media’s eight online players: Lifetime Canada, HGTV Canada, HISTORY, Slice, Showcase and Global TV – that’s a lot to watch! Visit www.shawmedia.ca for a full list of channels – and to watch the captioned shows online.

Learn more about captioning
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