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.
The FCc stated that Pluto TV agreed to a compliance program to ensure its closed captioning is included in its programming.
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). These rules are part of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 and require that all shows streamed over the internet use closed captioning if they were previously broadcast on television in the United States with captions. Pluto’s channels include a host of reruns from broadcast and cable TV. This applies to live TV programming streaming over the internet.
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.”
ViacomCBS’ spokesperson did not immediately reply to a request seeking comment.