Anzac Girls – $480,000 NZD of NZ on Air Funding…. being shown on Prime with no captions despite being shown around the world WITH Captions..

It’s bad enough that any TV programme is shown on Prime without captioning.

But its pretty galling to learn that ‘ANZAC Girls’, a co-production between Screentime NZ and Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a recipient of $480,000 NZD of NZ On Air Funding will be shown on Prime, Tuesday 8.30pm. It’s inaccessible to many New Zealanders if shown there.

So lets do a quick world tour.

It’s already been shown in Australia to great acclaim – with closed captioning.

Look carefully for the CC on this photo (bottom left). The programme was co-produced with Australia who had the rights to air it first according to Prime TV.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 8.36.22 pm


Next year it will be shown on More 4 in the UK – with captioning.

Check out what this broadcaster has to say of their commitment to captioning (subtitles). They proudly state “we decided to make some major commitments, over and above our statutory quotas, in relation to the provision of these services across our channels

You can see their statement here.

Next year it will be shown in America – with captioning.

So why do these countries have captioning and NZ does not? All three have legislation (with teeth) requiring captioning services to be provided by broadcasters.

In Australia & the UK – as clearly shown by the Channel 4 statement, broadcasters often voluntarily exceed the regulatory targets.

Last week, answering a question posed by Deaf MP Mojo Mathers, the new Minister of Broadcasting, Hon. Amy Adams said she would consider making it a requirement that NZ On Air funded programmes must be shown with captioning.

Many would say, I guess, that we should celebrate that step.  And yes, all moves to increase captioning are good ones.  But the pace of progress is glacially slow in a technology enabled world.  Furthermore, broadcasters and other media companies (they are merging into one these days) hide behind the notion that all captioning should be paid for by NZ On Air.

I think its time to accelerate that policy re captioning Hon. Amy Adams for NZ On Air funded content – On TV, On Demand and On Web series, and any content broadcast with video for that matter.

Its also time the Broadcasters took a leadership position.  Stop hiding behind “it’s technically challenging” and/or “expensive”. We are a proud small nation. On the sports field we detest Australia, America & United Kingdom beating us.  Why why why do we accept this third world approach to captioning?  Design for accessibility from the outset.


PS It seems the bulk of the web content out there think ‘ANZAC Girls’ is an Australian Programme. If NZ tax-payers do invest NZ On Air funding in programming, I sure hope the contract allowed for some NZ PR and a return on the investment… but that’s another question!



NZ On Air

ABC Australia

Channel 4 UK Commitment

UK Program

US Program


NZ Herald

Mojo Mathers to Hon. Amy Adams – Questions in the House

An extra 10 hours of captioning in 3.5 years is not significant



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