ViacomCBS And Pluto TV To Pay $3.5 Million Fine To FCC Over Closed Captioning Violations

Pluto TV

ViacomCBS and its Pluto TV have agreed to pay a $3.5 million fine to settle violations of rules requiring closed captioning on the streaming service’s video programming.

Pluto TV also agreed to enter into a compliance plan to ensure that its video programming includes closed captioning, the FCC said.

The FCC said that the fine and consent decree was the first enforcement action related to closed captioning rules for the internet (read it here). The rules were set out in the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, and require that shows streaming over the internet provide closed captioning if it was previously shown on TV in the U.S. with captions. Pluto’s channels include a host of reruns from broadcast and cable TV. It also applies to internet streams of TV live programming.

The FCC said that it first started to receive complaints about Pluto TV in January, 2018.

“The Investigation confirmed that Pluto had failed to comply with the IP Closed Captioning Rules when disseminating Video Programming on some Platforms,” the FCC said. “Even after being reminded of its closed captioning obligations, after filing the Petition for Waiver, after receiving the LOI and throughout the Investigation, Pluto continued to offer Pluto TV on existing Platforms and initiated Pluto TV on several new Platforms without being in compliance with the IP Closed Captioning Rules. As a result of Pluto’s actions, individuals with hearing disabilities were unable to access closed captioning when viewing Pluto TV over some Platforms.”

A spokesperson for Pluto TV said, “We recognize the importance of closed captioning and have been working in close collaboration with the FCC on the consent decree. Pluto TV’s mission, since its onset, has been to entertain the planet. We are committed to ensuring that our audiences can freely enjoy the programming streaming on our platform with ease of use and accessibility.”


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