TVNZ Loses Audio on Breakfast News, Causes Outcry. “Yet Every Single Day, thousands of New Zealanders who want to watch the Breakfast news are totally excluded”

Audiences today were outraged because of TVNZ’s loss of audio for over an hour on Breakfast news today.

The NZ herald reported that…

Despite a technical warning issued from presenters, several Breakfast viewers still took to their Facebook timelines to complain. One declared she “couldn’t function” without her favourite morning show while others turned to TV3.

“OMG I start every day with Breakfast. This is so frustrating,” wrote one viewer, while another commented that Firstline “seems to have improved”.

Yet Every Single Day, thousands of New Zealanders who want to watch the Breakfast news are totally excluded because it’s not captioned. Maybe if there had been captions, then people wouldn’t have minded the loss of audio? Indeed someone even said that on Breakfast’s Facebook page

breafkast

Currently, the funding model for captions is that funding is supplied by NZ on Air to Able, who, based on certain criteria, decide what will be captioned on TV1, TV2 and TV3. Currently Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and the many others that use captioning (autistic, English as a second language, the elderly) only have the ability to watch news on TV1 (not Breakfast news), and don’t have the choice that others do, to switch over to another channel.

The current funding model in NZ isn’t working. Overseas, captioning is mandated by legislation and it is up to the broadcasters to supply it. Broadcasters in Australia and the UK, both free to air and subscription services, regularly exceed targets and in the USA captioning is at 100% with very few exemptions and has been for decades. Research shows that the majority of people that actually use captioning don’t have hearing loss. These overseas broadcasters have wised up to this and have realised that captioning is added value in terms of viewers and revenue. The benefits far outweigh the costs.

New Zealand as yet to wake up to this fact, and we are 30 years behind other countries in terms of accessibility when it comes to Television.

So – I just can’t feel sorry for these people who are frustrated by a ONE hour of loss of audio on their favourite TV news, when on a daily basis, 1 in 6 New Zealanders are frustrated on lack of captions. We don’t have the choice to watch what we like, we are forced to watch only what is captioned.

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