Video Described Television Programming: the Rules
FCC rules require local TV station affiliates of ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC located in the top 60 TV markets (https://www.stationindex.com/tv/tv-markets) to provide 50 hours per calendar quarter (about 4 hours per week) of video-described prime time and/or children's programming. Live or near-live events may but are not required to provide video description.
Schedule of video described programming (https://docs.google.com/document/d/12HN-8UeDWGj1Y_NjHQxAsEwYjqNxq3sYHrgL5zrw3F8/edit?pli=1)
- Local TV stations in markets smaller than the top 60 also may provide video description but are not required to do so. Check with your local TV stations.
- Many Public Broadcasting System (PBS) stations also provide video description on a number of programs. Check with your local PBS station.
The top 5 non-broadcast networks - Disney Channel, The History Channel, TBS, TNT, and USA - must provide 50 hours per calendar quarter (about 4 hours per week) of video-described prime time and/or children's programming.
- Subscription TV systems (offered over cable, satellite or the telephone network, including, but not limited to, Comcast, AT&T U-verse, Dish Network, DIRECTV) with 50,000 or more subscribers must carry video description.
- Subscription TV systems with fewer than 50,000 subscribers also mayprovide video description but are not required to do so. Check with your subscription TV provider.
If, after reading these FCC requirements for video description of television programming, you wish to file a complaint, use the information that follows as a guide in composing that complaint.
How to File a Video Description Complaint
This is a step by step guide for filing complaints regarding the new video description requirements with the Federal Communications Commission, (FCC). Before filing a complaint you should make every attempt to work with your cable or satellite provider to resolve the situation to your satisfaction. You should keep records of your attempts to resolve the inability to receive descriptions and include that information in your complaint.
Prepare your complaint including the following information.
First Name and Last Name:
City, State, Zip Code:
Your preferred format or method of response to the complaint by the Commission
and defendant is: (Choices are: Letter; Internet E-mail; ASCII Text; Audio-Cassette Recording; braille; Facsimile (fax); Telephone (Voice); TRS (designate form of TRS and appropriate contact information); TTY.
Your complaint is about Video Description (audio narrated descriptions of a TV program's key visual elements)
1. Provide the name, address and telephone number (if known) of the company(s) involved in your complaint:
City, State, Zip Code:
Telephone number (if known):
2. Provide the following:
a. Television station call sign and network name (if applicable), or channel name (e.g., "WZUF, CBC," "WZUE-TV," "Sportingchannel West"):
b. Channel Number (e.g., "13"):
c. Station or subscription TV provider system location: City, County, State.
d. If you pay to receive television programming, name and type of subscription service (e.g., Comcast; DIRECTV; Dish Network):
f. Name of program(s) involved:
3. Provide a narrative for your complaint and include the resolution you are seeking.
What to Include in Your Narrative
Include enough information to demonstrate that the video programming distributor has violated or is violating the FCC’s video description rules, such as the name of the program or show; the date and time when it was shown; and a detailed description of the video description problem, including specifics about the frequency and type of problem (e.g., video description available during only part of the program or missing in its entirety – but remember that not all programming must be video described under the FCC’s rules).
Tell the FCC what specific relief or satisfaction is being requested;
Include any additional information that may assist in processing your complaint.
File your complaint
- E-mail your complaint to [email protected].
- Mail your complaint to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20554.
- Use the Disability Access Complaint Form 2000C at https://esupport.fcc.gov/ccmsforms/form2000!formSelection.action.
- File your complaint by phone (888-225-5322).
For a list of all the networks and described shows, plus information on how to receive the description and what the rules are, you may go to the ADP Television page.