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Infobase Learning

Policies for Publishing Video Content at Infobase Learning

It is an investment to do transcripts and captioning. Whether you’re a university or a publisher servicing a university, it’s an investment. But if you start to think of everything that becomes possible after you make that investment, it’s pretty powerful.

Wendy Collins
Infobase Learning

Infobase Learning has over 20,000 full-length videos for use in education and learning environments. They have built a platform for their video content called Films on Demand that integrates with 3Play Media. In addition to the 20,000 full-length videos, Films on Demand hosts over 350,000 2-5 minute video segments. With over 850 content producers (including BBC, NBC News, and TED talks), over 40 subject areas, and over 100 million views, Films on Demand is considered the most comprehensive video platform in higher education.

Infobase Learning approaches their video content from five verticals (playback, integration, tools, search, and accessibility), always looking to optimize their platform further. In terms of accessibility, Films on Demand aims to ensure that their videos can be viewed from anywhere, on any platform, and on any device. Further, they add closed captions and interactive transcripts to every video to make sure that everyone can understand their content.

The History of Closed Captioning and Transcription at Infobase Learning

Infobase Learning has been working to make video accessible since they started in 2001, when their content was still primarily on VHS and had to be sent in the mail across the country to be captioned. Wendy Collins shared a really interesting graph that shows the evolution of closed captioning at Infobase Learning over the years. In 2001, less than 30% of their content was captioned, and it would take 6 months and $500 to caption one title. By 2006, most of their content was on DVD, but only 50% of their content was captioned and it would still take 4 months and $500 to caption one title. Note that at that point, Infobase Learning was publishing approximately 600 titles per year.

By 2012, most of Infobase Learning’s video content was streaming media and they began working with 3Play Media. Now, every video they produce has both closed captions and an interactive transcript associated with it. Further, it only takes 2-3 days and costs about $100 to caption a full-length title. Infobase Learning publishes 5,000 titles a year, and 98% of their entire library is captioned.

2001 2006 2009 2012
Primary Format VHS DVD Streaming & DVD Streaming
% Captioned <30% 50% 65% 98%
Time 6 months 4 months 2-3 months 2-3 days
Cost $500/Title $500/Title $400/Title $100/Title
Titles/Year 600 (100 with CC) 600 (300 with CC) 700 (500 with CC) 5,000 (All with CC)

The Many Benefits of Closed Captions and Transcripts

Although their initial reason for adding closed captions to videos was for accessibility and ADA compliance, Infobase Learning has discovered many other benefits of captions and transcripts. Since adding captions, they have seen a tremendous number of people downloading and printing transcripts, which implies that the transcripts make video more accessible for everyone, not just those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

To make video even more accessible, Infobase Learning has been leveraging interactive transcripts to add search enhancements to video. Now, users can search within a video and across an entire video library and watch the specific clips that they are interested in. Although their videos are behind a paywall, Infobase Learning still finds that the transcripts are useful for internal SEO purposes, since they help the most relevant videos show up in internal searches.

With search, SEO, and accessibility covered, Infobase Learning is now working to build new features for their videos by leveraging the value of transcripts. For instance, they have added a translation option for videos, where Google Translate will translate the transcript on the spot into another language. They have also used the transcripts as a foundation for users to create video clips to hone in on relevant content. Finally, Infobase Learning is working to leverage transcripts to improve their indexing process. For many years, they have been manually indexing content, which is very time intensive. They are now experimenting with using transcripts to extract intelligent keywords and auto generate tags and indexes, which would provide an incredible value moving forward.

Finding the Value Proposition of Captioning and Transcription

Infobase Learning has come to utilize transcripts and captions for accessibility, search, and SEO, and Wendy was adamant about the immense value proposition that captions provide. As she said, “It is an investment to do transcripts and captioning. Whether you’re a university or a publisher servicing a university, it’s an investment. But if you start to think of everything that becomes possible after you make that investment, it’s pretty powerful.”

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