Pluto TV, ViacomCBS Whacked with $3.5 Million Penalty Over Closed Caption Violations
The Federal Communications Commission just blasted Pluto TV and its parent company over violations of the nation’s accessibility rules. A 2010 rule declared that shows streaming over the internet must provide closed captioning if it was previously shown on TV in the U.S. with captions.
Pluto TV apparently neglected to include closed captions on some of its rerun programming. The FCC said it first started to receive complaints about Pluto TV back in January, 2018.
As part of a settlement, Pluto TV (via its parent company, ViacomCBS) will pay a $3.5 million fine. The service will launch a compliance plan to make sure any previously captioned video programming will be captioned on Pluto TV moving forward.
“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.”
The FCC said this is the first enforcement action related to closed captioning rules for the internet, but it’s sure to light a fire under any other services that broadcast older programming online.
Pluto TV is a free live TV streaming service that provides more than 250 channels of live TV and thousands of on demand movies and TV shows.
Most of what you’ll find on Pluto TV qualifies as “background television.” It’s fine to keep on while you’re scrolling on your phone or cooking something in the kitchen.
Because these aren’t traditional live TV channels, it’s not a great option for live events, news, or sports, but it’s a solid choice for cord cutters who want to supplement their other services with some “comfort food” TV.