January 25, 2016 By Ryan Hawthorne

Closed Captions, Super Bowl Commercials and the 5-Minute Exemption

Superbowl closed captioning

The 50th anniversary Super Bowl game is coming up in February.

That means COMMERCIALS, of course. I confess that I actually walk to the kitchen to grab another slice of pizza when play resumes just so I don’t miss those silly commercials.

Remember the Bud-weis-er frogs? Sadly, I still do.

But I’m not the only one that gets a kick out of a good Super Bowl ad. Those commercials are so hot that there are even websites devoted entirely to anticipating what advertisers will come up with this year. Speaking of advertisers, look who’s dropping some cold hard airtime cash this year:

Wix—Doritos—Shock Top—Budweiser—Weather Tech—Kia—Pepsi—Coke—Snickers—Honda—BMW—Turbo Tax

Unfortunately, some of these commercials won’t be accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Did you know there’s an FCC legal loophole still on the books that exempts advertisers from captioning their broadcast television commercials if the content is less than five minutes long?

While many of the companies advertising in the Super Bowl this year will caption, some will not. This means they’ll completely skip over the 48 million Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing.

A 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl costs around $4 or $5 million.

Adding captioning to that same commercial will cost around $250.

Commercials are designed to sell goods and services. Sometimes they even make us laugh.

A non-captioned TV commercial not only doesn’t maximize its reach—it sends a bad message to the deaf and hard of hearing that their business simply isn’t valued.

Ryan Hawthorne

Ryan is the Operations Manager and the reason we can brag about the quality of our captions. He isn’t shy of high standards or quick turnarounds. He makes sure your project looks perfect every step of the way. When Ryan isn’t captioning, he’s spending time with his family as a new father.

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