FCC Updates List of Nonbroadcast Networks Subject to Video Description Requirements

March 17, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law, Technology



On March 6, 2015, the FCC’s Media Bureau took the following actions in an Order and Public Notice:

(1)    Announced that, beginning July 1, 2015, the top five nonbroadcast networks that will be subject to the FCC’s video description requirements are the Disney Channel, History, TBS, TNT, and USA;

(2)    Granted a request by ESPN to be excluded from the list of networks that must provide video description because ESPN does not air at least 50 hours of prime time programming that is not live or near-live (recorded less than 24 hours before its first airing) per calendar quarter; and

(3)    Reminded broadcast stations affiliated with ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC that the obligation to provide 50 hours of video description per calendar quarter expands from the top 25 television markets to the top 60 television markets on July 1, 2015.


The FCC’s rules require multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) systems (such as cable and satellite providers) that serve 50,000 or more subscribers to provide 50 hours of video description per calendar quarter (about four hours per week) during prime time or children’s programming on each of the top five nonbroadcast networks.  The top five nonbroadcast networks that have been subject to the video description requirements since July 1, 2012 are the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, TBS, TNT and USA.  The FCC updates the list of top five nonbroadcast networks that are subject to the video description requirements every three years to account for changes in ratings.  The new list of networks reflects changes in such ratings.

Links to the Order and Public Notice:

Word:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-295A1.doc
PDF:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-295A1.pdf
Text:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-295A1.txt

For further information, contact Maria Mullarkey at (202) 418-2120 or Maria.Mullarkey@fcc.gov.