Are your TV Commercials ‘Closed Captioned’?

March 18th, 2014 | ACA Team,

By Bob Reaume, ACA

It’s a question that all clients must ask themselves this summer as commercials are being readied for air in the fall. As of September 1st, 2014, all advertising commercials, sponsorship messages and promos broadcast on television stations in Canada must be aired with closed captioning for the hearing impaired. Closed captions are hidden sub-titles that can be made available onscreen to hearing impaired viewers.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has made this a mandatory condition of license for all broadcasters in Canada as of this date. As a result, Telecaster (TVB) has mandated that all commercials be closed captioned prior to granting a final clearance number. This means it is not business as usual for clients or agencies in getting prepared in time to make fall air dates.

Advertisers should therefore be prepared for this new approval process to add 2 to 5 additional days at the end of the production schedule — immediately prior to airdate – in order to proceed through Telecaster’s new approval process. And that’s not all — Telecaster is also requiring that spots already closed captioned and at stations need to be re-submitted for a new approval number if they are to be used again after September 1st.

Of course for many advertisers this is not new news, as you have been captioning your spots for television in the regular course of business, however, for those who do not, captioning of a 30-second spot costs approximately $400. Oh, and a head’s up on timing: Telecaster does not charge for regular approval, but it will cost you $55 for rush approval.