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Films Media Group

how Films Media Group uses captions and transcripts

How Films Media Group Uses Video

Films Media Group, a division of Infobase Learning, uses a web-based platform to deliver educational video content to schools, colleges, and libraries around the country. Students, faculty, and librarians can buy a membership to access educational instructional videos, documentaries and additional educational content. Currently, Films Media Group offers 20,000 titles. Institutions can buy a campus-wide subscription, using the service as their “educational Netflix.”

Why Films Media Group Captions and Transcribes Video

Films Media Group is an educational content business that first provided schools VHS tapes, then DVDs, and most recently, streaming video. The shift in delivery method has prompted Films Media Group to caption all new video content as well as retroactively add captions to older content.

Wendy Collins, Vice President of Digital Strategy at Films Media Group, discussed the importance of captions in educational video to improve accessibility, search and engagement.

WENDY COLLINS: ….Fast forward to when the online media began to transition as the dominant format and we took our content online. We saw that format shift really increase demand [for captions] for two reasons. One, because it’s just out there and people have an expectation because YouTube does it or Netflix does it, there’s an expectation that any online content is going to be captioned. But secondly, our business model changed. We went from selling individual titles where if you were an educator or a librarian, you could buy a specific DVD from us. And you could ask us to caption that one DVD if you had a student in a class that needed it to be. Now, all of a sudden, we went to an online subscription model where we’re offering access to 15,000, 20,000 videos. And if one’s captioned, why can’t they all be captioned?

In 2002, prompted by a move to DVDs and the Americans with Disabilities Act, California school systems requested that all materials purchased from Films Media Group have captions. As such, captions moved from a welcome additional feature to a necessity. Films Media Group understands that with each delivery shift, expectations change. By proactively captioning their full video library, Films Media Group is ready for the next technological or legal development.

How Interactive Video Transcripts Add Value to the Film Media Group Video Archive

Films media group uses transcripts and time-synced captions data to offer new search possibilities.


WENDY COLLINS: Now that we’ve got 100% of our content captioned, we can introduce a full transcript cross-search, whereas before, we were relying on metadata. We were relying on somebody tagging it or writing a little description about it. Now our customers have the ability to search every word of every video in our platform.

How the Films Media Group Captions Process Has Changed

Collins can recall a time when a captioning request could take up to two months. Now with 3Play Media, her captions workflow is streamlined and the turnaround time is 2-3 days.

WENDY COLLINS: We were doing the old fashioned way…we wouldn’t get the captioning back for two months typically, two months. And then we still had to build the DVD, get it out, make it available. So from a two month turnaround to an average of two to three days…It’s a ridiculous amount of workload compression. And the advantage is, our customers get the content sooner and then get it with the benefit of captioning.

Why Films Media Groups Selected 3Play Media for Captioning

Before using 3Play Media, Collins admits they tried a few different tools, but ultimately were unhappy with the results. Films Media Group distributes videos which are difficult to transcribe given the complex content. Shakespeare and Biology intensives are just two examples. Previous transcripts were often riddled with typos and unsuitable for their intended purpose: learning.


WENDY COLLINS: One of the things we really like about the 3Play technology is that it’s pretty close to perfect, but it gives us tools to make instant corrections if we find an issue with it. And I think with any system, it should be a requirement.

The Future of Web-Based Educational Video Content

Collins also touched on translation, captions formats, and the future format of video, HTML5. Already Collins is preparing her company for streaming video over multiple devices.


WENDY COLLINS: …Remember how I said the education market doesn’t move so fast? Took them awhile to go from VHS to DVD, so we’ve got a little bit of time before the mobile revolution really hits the education market. It’s coming. We know it’s coming, but we’re not there yet.

Watch the recorded panel session “Strategies for Deploying Accessible Video Captioning”

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