Imagine you were hard of hearing or deaf and weren’t able to catch your favorite TV show on its network last night. You go the network’s site, find the replay video, click “play,” and then… nothing.
You can see the images moving and you can tell the characters are trying to talk, but you see no white words with a black background scrolling past on the bottom part of the screen. And you don’t even have the option to turn on closed captioning anywhere.
A Brief History of Closed Captioning for Online Video
This is what millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing people have to deal with when they attempt to watch online videos. Though the internet’s not a young invention anymore, many companies are still trying to catch up with its fast pace and adapt their online videos to meet the current TV standards.
Closed captioning became required in 1990 when Congress mandated TV sets come with the feature, and then Congress went even further in 1996 to require TV shows have their own closed captioning, as well. So closed captioning for TV has been around for years, but it’s having a very slow time making it over to internet platforms.
Fortunately, improvements have been made. Speechpad has had the pleasure of working with Netflix on closed captioning. Hulu offers many TV shows with closed captions, and are still trying to add captions to the rest. Even YouTube has a speech recognition program for all its uploaded videos. Unfortunately, the site only transcribes clearly-recorded English and their closed captioning isn’t always correct; because of this limitation, many companies choose to go with transcription services like Speechpad that offer high quality closed captioning.
The Value of Online Video Captioning
What this means for any content creators is that you need to be aware of providing closed captioning for online videos you may make.
The benefits of showing your online videos with closed captioning are enormous. For starters, you will attract a hard-of-hearing or deaf audience who would otherwise not be able to enjoy your content. Second, you’ll also be ahead of your competitors who haven’t even considered adding closed captioning for online video (which could easily be the case since this is a relatively new concern in media). And you also can’t ignore the fact that when you add closed captioning to your videos, Google indexes these words which in turn makes your site to show up more in searches.
Join the ranks of Netflix, Hulu and YouTube in providing valuable closed captioning for online video. Keep closed captioning in mind as you create, make it a regular part of your projects, and you’ll be well ahead of the digital closed captioning game.