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Apple has announced that all TV and Movie content on the US iTunes Store must have closed captions by June 30th 2015 to remain live on the Store and eligible for sale. From June 30th Apple will be removing content from the iTunes Store that does not include closed captions.

Closed Captions for US iTunes Store

From July, all content including short films, concert films, trailers and bonus materials will only be accepted for sale if closed captions (or in some circumstances, English subtitles) are included in the US iTunes Store Package. Any content currently on sale without closed captions must be updated to include captioning or will be removed from the Store. Movies that are in English can be delivered with English Subtitles for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing (SDH) if closed captions are not available.

In a review of captioned content conducted in early June, ZOO discovered that approximately 18% of the movie content on US iTunes would be removed if not updated - including much-loved movies from major Hollywood studios and content from independent filmmakers.

iTunes Content with English Subtitles

A few exceptions to the rule are noted when looking at foreign language titles. These titles must instead include English subtitles to translate the foreign language audio and qualify for sale in the US Store. The requirements are as follows:

iTunes Movies

  • Movies that are not in English and have not been broadcast in the US do not need closed captions. They must however include either English subtitles or Subtitles for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing (SDH).

iTunes TV Episodes

  • TV episodes that are not in English and have never been broadcast in the US do not need closed captions, however they must include burned-in English subtitles or SDH.

Promotional and Bonus Materials

Promotional materials, trailers and bonus content delivered for sale after June 30th must also include closed captions. Such materials that are live on iTunes before this date will not need to be updated with captions.

Distributors must also ensure that if captions are available in other digital or physical formats, they are included as part of the iTunes Extras Package.

Is your content at risk of removal from the US iTunes Store?

Filmmakers and distributors should act now to ensure their iTunes film and TV content is captioned and not at risk of being removed from the US Store.

Not sure if you have content on US iTunes Store without closed captions? Take a look at your delivery status list in your iTunes Catalog Reports.

ZOO can help

If you have content on iTunes that is at risk of being removed, ZOO can help. ZOO provides high quality, cost-effective closed captioning and subtitling for film and TV content, and is approved by iTunes to offer closed caption support to iTunes distributors. Request a closed captioning quote.

ZOO is also an approved iTunes delivery partner and aggregator, and our self-service iTunes distribution services enable independent filmmakers and content distributors to deliver their own content directly to iTunes in all global territories.

For more information or advice regarding creating closed captions for your iTunes content, contact ZOO.