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July 17, 2012
Enforcement Advisory No. 2012-04
ENFORCEMENT BUREAU REPORTS ON CABLE AND SATELLITE COMPLIANCE WITH
CHILDREN'S PROGRAMMING REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE CHILDREN'S TELEVISION ACT
AND ASSOCIATED PUBLIC FILE RULES
In this Enforcement Advisory, the Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) reports on
its review of cable and satellite compliance to ensure that programming
targeted to children meets the requirements of the Children's Television
Act of 1990 (CTA). Compliance with these requirements is important in
light of the significant role that television plays in the lives of
American children. Although we found that cable and satellite providers
generally complied with the limits on commercial material during
children's programming, several providers failed to update their public
inspection files in a timely manner. With that in mind, this Advisory
reminds cable and satellite operators of their obligations associated with
the transmission of children's programming.
In passing the CTA, Congress found that special safeguards are appropriate
to protect children from over-commercialization on television. To provide
such safeguards, the CTA and the FCC's rules limit the amount of
commercial matter in children's programming and require the maintenance of
records documenting compliance. These rules, covering programming targeted
to children ages 12 years old and younger, apply to television
broadcasters, cable operators, and direct broadcast satellite systems. In
particular, commercial matter transmitted during children's programming
must not exceed 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour
on weekdays. Additionally, broadcasters, cable operators, and satellite
systems that air children's programming must maintain records sufficient
to verify their compliance with the advertising restrictions and make such
records available to the public.
As part of our regular activities to monitor compliance with children's
programming rules applicable to cable and satellite operators, last year
the Bureau initiated a review of children's programming on cable and
satellite systems in communities across the country. Bureau field agents
and headquarters employees recorded and reviewed programming from several
children's programming networks on numerous cable and satellite systems,
focusing on programming aimed at children 12 and under. The programming
was analyzed for compliance with commercial limits as well as the
prohibitions on host selling, program-length commercials, and the display
of commercial website Internet addresses. Bureau field agents also
inspected the public files of cable and satellite systems across the
country to assess compliance with relevant recordkeeping requirements.
The Bureau's investigation and analysis found that cable and satellite
compliance with the CTA requirements was generally good. The Bureau's
review of children's programming material revealed no violations of the
limits on commercial matter. In addition, our investigation and review of
operators' public files found that the vast majority maintained documents
to sufficiently verify compliance with the rules and made these files
available to the public.
Despite widespread compliance, however, we found some apparent violations
of the public file requirements. Over one-third of the public file
inspections revealed either missing or late-filed Children's Programming
Reports. We remind cable and satellite operators that these reports must
be placed in the public inspection file within 10 days of the end of each
To address these apparent violations of the Public File rules, we are
releasing the following Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) and Notices of
Violation (NOVs) concurrent with this Enforcement Advisory:
CCO SOCAL I, LLC, Gilroy, California; Notice of Violation, EB-11-SF-0117
Cebridge Acquisition, LP, Bryan, Texas; Notice of Violation, EB-11-HU-0053
Charter Communications, Inc., Athens, Georgia; Notice of Violation,
Charter Communications, Inc., Fort Worth, Texas; Notice of Violation,
Comcast of Howard County, Inc., Elkridge, Maryland; Notice of Violation,
Comcast of Illinois XI LLC, Mount Prospect, Illinois; Notice of Violation,
Cox Communications Louisiana LLC, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Notice of
DirecTV, Inc., El Segundo, California; Notice of Violation, EB-11-LA-0176
DISH Network, LLC, Englewood, Colorado; Notice of Violation, EB-11-DV-0201
Time Warner Entertainment, Advance/Newhouse Partnership, Kansas City,
Missouri; Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order,
Verizon Florida LLC, Hillsborough County, Florida; Notice of Violation,
The NAL finds Time Warner Entertainment - Advance/Newhouse Partnership
(Time Warner) apparently liable for a forfeiture in the amount of twenty
five thousand dollars ($25,000) for violations of Sections 76.1703 and
76.1704 of the Commission's rules. The Enforcement Bureau's Kansas City
field agents inspected files at Time Warner's offices on July 18, 2011.
The files were missing required children's programming records for five
quarters as well as proof of performance tests for 2008 and 2009.
The ten NOVs listed above are being issued to the various cable and
satellite companies for failing to file their children's programming
material in a timely manner. We caution these companies that future
violations could result in more severe sanctions, including monetary
We also take this opportunity to remind all cable and satellite operators
of their ongoing obligations under the CTA and the Commission's rules. The
Bureau will continue to monitor compliance with these rules consistent
with their importance in safeguarding children.
In particular, we remind cable and satellite operators to maintain records
sufficient to verify their compliance with the advertising restrictions
and to make such records available to the public. Cable and satellite
operators are specifically required to update these records in the
system's public file no later than the tenth day of the quarter following
the quarter in which the covered programming aired, and they must keep the
material in the public file for at least one year.
Issued by: Chief, Enforcement Bureau
* * * *
Need More Information? For additional information regarding this
Enforcement Advisory, please contact Guy Benson of the Enforcement
Bureau at 202-418-2946 or at Guy.Benson@fcc.gov. Media inquiries should be
directed to Neil Grace at (202) 418-0506 or Neil.Grace@fcc.gov.
For additional information concerning the Children's Television Act rules,
please contact Kim Matthews at (202) 418-2154 or at Kim.Matthews@fcc.gov.
To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities
(Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email
to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at
202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY). You may also contact
the Enforcement Bureau on its TTY line at 202-418-1148 for further
information about this Enforcement Advisory, or the Media Bureau on its
TTY line at (202) 418-0432 or 1 (888) 835-5322 for further information
about the Children's Programming rules.
- FCC -
Children's Television Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-437, 104 Stat.
996-1000, codified at 47 U.S.C. S:S: 303a, 303b, 394 (Children's
Television Act of 1990).
See Children's Television Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters,
Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, 19 FCC Rcd
22943, 22945, para. 3 (2004). See also U.S. General Accounting Office,
Children's Television Act: FCC Could Improve Efforts to Oversee
Enforcement and Provide Public Information 1 (July 14, 2011). The report
reiterated the importance of the CTA and the associated rules.
See Children's Television Act of 1990, supra note 1.
See 47 C.F.R. S:S: 73.670, 73.3526(e)(11)(ii).
See 47 C.F.R. S:S: 76.225, 76.1703.
See 47 C.F.R. S: 25.701(e).
See 47 C.F.R. S:S: 73.3526(e)(11)(ii), 76.1703, 25.701(e)(3). See also
Policies and Rules Concerning Children's Television Programming, Report
and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 2111, 2113, para. 13 (1991), recons. granted in part,
6 FCC Rcd 5093, 5098, para. 28 (1991); Implementation of Section 25 of the
Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, Second
Order on Reconsideration of First Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd 5647, 5668,
para. 48 (2004) (2004 Second Order).
The Commission's "host-selling policy" prohibits the use of program talent
or other identifiable program character to deliver commercials during or
adjacent to children's programming featuring that character.
See 47 C.F.R. S:S: 76.225, 25.701(e).
See Policies and Rules Concerning Children's Television Programming,
Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6 FCC Rcd 5093, 5097, para. 23 (1991) (1991
MO&O); 2004 Second Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 5668, para. 48. See also 47 C.F.R.
47 C.F.R. S:S: 76.1703, 76.1704.
Pursuant to Section 76.601 of the Commission's Rules (47 C.F.R. S:
76.601), cable system operators must conduct periodic tests to determine
the extent to which their systems comply with technical standards. Section
76.1704 of the Commission's Rules states: "[T]he proof of performance
tests required by S: 76.601 shall be maintained on file at the operator's
local business office for at least five years. The test data shall be made
available for inspection by the Commission or the local franchiser, upon
request." 47 C.F.R. S: 76.1704.
See, e.g., Children's Television Obligations of Digital Television
Broadcasters, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making,
19 FCC Rcd 22943, 22945, para. 5 (2004); Children's Television Obligations
of Digital Television Broadcasters, Second Order on Reconsideration and
Second Report and Order, 21 FCC Rcd 11065, 11066, para. 5 (2006). The
Commission also monitors compliance by television broadcast licensees.
See, e.g., WSOC Television, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, 25 FCC Rcd 6124 (2010); WCVB Hearst Television, Inc., Notice
of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 25 FCC Rcd 6128 (2010); Media
General Communications Holdings, LLC, Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, 25 FCC Rcd 6132 (2010).
See 47 C.F.R. S:S: 76.1703, 25.701(e)(3).
See 1991 MO&O, 6 FCC Rcd at 5097, para. 23; 2004 Second Order, 19 FCC Rcd
at 5668, para. 48. The retention period must be sufficient to cover the
limitations specified in 47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(6)(B). See also 47 C.F.R.
S: 1.80(b)(4) (forfeitures).
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FCC ENFORCEMENT ADVISORY
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500