Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Flo TV Can't Commit to Captioning!

Today Caption Action 2 spoke with Matthew Hutchison, the Senior Director of Public Relations for Flo TV. It was a discouraging conversation, as shown below:

(Flo TV is a mobile digital TV broadcaster, as explained in the previous Caption Action 2 blog post)

Matthew: hi this (confirming spelling) matthew GA
Caption Action 2 : hello this is jamie berke calling back at 9 pm eastern time as agreed ga
Matthew : hello jamie GA
Caption Action 2 : i sent you an email with the questions. you know what my questions you have any answers for me qga
Matthew : at this point in time flo tv (confirming spelling) does not support close captioning but it is something we are considering in the future GA
Caption Action 2 : how far into the future? do you have any rough idea of when closed captioning would be available qga
Matthew : i do not but i will keep you posted GA
Caption Action 2 : what about the Flo TV chip? could you re-engineer that to add closed captioning circuitry? then a cell phone that has Flo TV such as the iPhone, could show captions on Flo TV programming. ga
Matthew : it is not a question of the chip GA
Caption Action 2 : it is not? what is it then qga
Matthew : will you honor off the record comments qq GA
Caption Action 2 : why does it have to be off the record qga
Matthew : i m willing to address questions if in many cases the bloggers will allow us to speak on background and off the record if that s not the case i can t answer questions GA
Caption Action 2 : everything you say has to be on the record so to speak. my next question - I know that Flo TV has its own mobile TV standard. there is another standard that was just approved called the Open Mobile Digital TV standard [actually it is Open Mobile Video Coalition]. I think that's the name, from memory., that standard already supports closed captioning. Is there any way Flo TV could borrow from that standard to add closed captioning capability qga
Matthew : as stated we are looking into this when we have developments i will let you know GA
Caption Action 2 : alright. are you able to give me any idea, even a very rough one, of when you might be able to support closed captioning? a year from now? five years from now qga
Matthew : uhh i uhh i cannot commit to a time frame at this time GA
Caption Action 2 : i see that we can't discuss captioning any further. before i you know about a new bill in congress, HR 3101, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009? qga

[Was on hold awhile and when he came back Caption Action 2 repeated the question]

Matthew :
i personally do not GA
Caption Action 2 : well that bill has a provision that will affect Flo TV, so I suggest you make closed captioning a higher priority than it is now. ga
Matthew: thank you will look into it GA

Caption Action 2 offered to tell him what that provision(s) was, but he had to run because of a family emergency. So that was the end of that conversation.

Bottom line: It looks like we deaf and hard of hearing people CAN NOT expect closed captioning support or closed captioned programming from Flo TV anytime soon.

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  1. Robert:

    Thank you for sharing your negative experience with Qualcomm's FLO-TV PR team. It sounds like you feel unheard. It's a shame - you were a customer expressing genuine interest and concern and you were treated like an inconvenience. You were made to feel small and unimportant by Qualcomm's FLO-TV PR team.

    Public relations and customer relations are intertwined. The future of PR is in managing stakeholder relationships...building customer loyalty and trust...proactively and reactively responding to current and potential customer's concerns. Ironically, I recently interviewed for a PR role with Qualcomm's FLO TV division. With respect, I lost interest in the position as a result of the unprofessionalism and short-sightedness that I encountered during the interview.

    You are a smart man, though. You realize the power of a blog. Perhaps Qualcomm's FLO TV PR team will respond to your blog post. Afterall, they have less than 1,250 followers on Twitter. They have time on their hands.

    Best wishes and continued success with your important advocacy campaigns!