Today, July 10, 2017, is the compliance deadline for the FCC’s rules regarding video description of emergency information on “second screens.” Multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) are now required to pass through audible emergency information via the secondary audio stream on any application or plug-in that the MVPD provides for consumers to view the MVPD’s linear programming on “second screen devices” on the MVPD’s own network.
Under the FCC’s rules, “second screen devices” are smartphones, tablets, laptops and similar devices. The audible emergency information at issue includes aural descriptions of emergency information that is presented visually during non-newscast programming, such as printed crawls, maps or other graphic displays.
The relevant rules do not apply to emergency information delivered on non-linear programming, such as video-on-demand, nor to over-the-top services whereby customers access MVPD programming over the Internet, such as TV Everywhere. The rules also do not yet extend to description of non-emergency video programming, an issue that is the subject of a pending rulemaking proceeding.