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CRTC Response to DV Working Group Results

In 2009, the CRTC established a working group to look at various matters relating to descriptive video. In particular, the working group was to look at some technical matters (such as enabling the pass-thru of DV), some practical matters (such as providing means for viewers to activate descriptive video, and ensuring that the availability of DV would be advertised in program listings).

Among other things, the DVWG was responsible for the production of the audio description public service announcement that has seen considerable air play. (The, "A woman enters a kitchen..." PSA.)

The CRTC's response to the DVWG's activities is provided below. This details not only the work that was complete but also provides some insight into how the CRTC will be proceeding in the future on such matters:

Ottawa, 15 August 2013

File No.: 8665-C12-200807943

Susan Wheeler
Chair, Described Video Working Group
Vice President, Regulatory – Media
Rogers Communications inc.
333 Bloor Street East
Toronto, ON M4W 1G9

RE: CRTC Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-430 Accessibility of telecommunications and broadcasting services – Described Video Working Group

Dear Ms. Wheeler:

This letter is in response to the final report submitted to the Commission by the Described Video Working Group (DV WG).

As set out in CRTC Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Policy 2009-430, Accessibility of Telecommunications and broadcasting services, the DV WG was originally tasked to develop common practices and other solutions to improve the accessibility of described programming including:

  • facilitating the pass through of described programming in embedded format;
  • providing one or more simple means for viewers to access embedded described video;
  • resolving any instances of audio loss associated with embedded described video; and
  • ensuring that information regarding described programming is made available in print and online programming listings and electronic programming guides.

On 15 November 2012, the DV WG submitted its most recent report to the Commission and this letter constitutes the Commission’s response to that report.

The Commission recognizes the considerable effort that the DV WG invested in developing a strategic approach for ensuring common practices and solutions for improving the awareness and promotion of described programming. In particular, the Commission commends the group for its active involvement in the establishment of the Described Video Guide which is managed by Accessible Media Inc. and which was awarded the 2012 FCC’s Annual Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility in the Video Programming Device Solutions.

The Commission also wishes to acknowledge the realization of the DV WG’s public service announcement (PSA) initiative, which has resulted in the airing of PSAs to help raise awareness of DV, educate the public about DV, and will help direct users of DV to sources for more information about DV programming.

While the DV WG has been able to develop solutions to a number of issues, in the Commission’s view, there are three matters that have not been completely addressed. Those matters include 1) the provision of an up-to-date list of services provided with DV; 2) the technical issues related to the pass through of DV; and 3) the provision of simple access to DV.

With regard to the provision of an up-to-date list of services provided with DV, the Commission considers that the most recent list provided by the DV WG (which is available on the Commission’s website) is a solid starting point upon which to build. As recommended by the DV WG, which experienced logistical challenges during the collection of this data, the Commission has decided that it will update the list in the future. The Commission will use existing data collection mechanisms where appropriate to collect the data that is necessary to update the list.

In the case of technical issues related to the pass through of DV, while the DV WG has been able to advance the discussion of this issue, it is the Commission’s view that the outstanding elements are of a nature that would make it best to address them on a case-by-case basis at the time of licensing and licence renewal.

Finally, with respect to the provision of simple access to DV, while the DV WG has made progress in this regard, the Commission is of the view that the DV WG has done what it can to advance this file. The Commission is considering other possible regulatory solutions that will ensure DV users are able to access described programming in an easy, consumer-friendly way.

With no further projects for the DV WG in the foreseeable future, the Commission has determined that it is not necessary to continue the mandate of the current working group. The Commission may, however, consider establishing such a working group in the future should it deem this appropriate.

In its interaction with the DV WG, the Commission has sought to facilitate the implementation of its regulatory approach to the provision of DV, the pass through and accessibility of DV, and the provision of information about described programming to viewers. In its regulatory policies and decisions the Commission has clearly articulated its requirements, expectations, and encouragements with regard to DV and will continue to evaluate compliance within this regulatory context.

Once again, the Commission thanks the members of the DV WG for all of their time and effort in improving the accessibility and awareness of described programming.


Original signed by

John Traversy
Secretary General


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