Video Captioning Expected to Increase in 2016 [Survey Results]

January 26, 2016 BY EMILY GRIFFIN
Updated: January 4, 2018

At the end of last year, we issued a survey to all 3Play Media customers who use our captioning, transcription, or subtitling services. One of the questions we asked was, “How do you see your captioning needs changing in 2016?”

The results are below:
How do you see your captioning needs changing in 2016? [Survey Results] Pie Chart: Increasing Significantly 9%; Increasing 33%; Not Changing 52%; Decreasing 6%

As the pie chart above indicates, 43% of respondents anticipate needing more or significantly more captioning services this year. Just over half expect no change in their volume of content that needs captioning, while a meager 6% sees their needs decreasing.

No respondents anticipated a significant decrease in their captioning needs.

Why do so many companies anticipate needing more closed captioning services this year?

Stricter Captioning Requirements

3Play Media customers surveyed range from top-tier universities and faith-based organizations, to media broadcasters and Fortune 100 companies. Different accessibility laws apply across these industries, with policies adapting steadily to the digital realm.

Media content providers and distributers are already held to a high standard for closed captioning thanks to FCC mandates and the CVAA. January 2016 marked a significant CVAA deadline for adding closed captions to video clips online. The FCC clarified that churches are not exempt from captioning TV broadcasts.

Institutions of higher education are obliged to caption or transcribe their online media to ensure it’s accessible to students who are deaf or hard of hearing. This aligns with accessibility requirements of the ADA and sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. While Section 508 only applies to federal agencies, several states’ laws (“little 508’s) apply the same standards to state universities.

Recent case law reveals a trend towards holding commercial and private organizations to a higher standard for web accessibility, as evidenced by the successful National Association for the Deaf (NAD) v. Netflix lawsuit, and the complaint filed against Harvard and MIT for lack of captioning, and the class-action lawsuit over captioning song lyrics in movies and TV shows.

The tide of stricter rules for online video captioning is one of the reasons that compels companies to provide more high-quality, comprehensive captions than in the past — if only to stay ahead of the curve.

Greater Awareness of the Benefits of Captioning

Wisely, companies are adapting to the digital age, adding Chief Technology Officers and entire departments devoted to digital communications.

Accessibility for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

As the internet pervades our lives, disability advocates raise awareness around the need to make the web more accessible. Captions for videos or transcripts for audio content help reach a broader audience by making rich media accessible to the deaf or hard of hearing community.

Last year saw several successful closed captioning advocacy campaigns on social media, such as #WithCaptions and #WHCCNow.

New Zealand launched a successful campaign to get more closed captioning on Kiwi public television. And the Community Manager video messaging app Glide, Sarah Snow, proposed a panel to discuss video accessibility at SXSW 2016.

The pressure to make online video accessible is only growing.

Searchable Video

Captions and interactive transcripts make video content searchable, allowing users to find exactly what they’re looking for. Video search is increasingly important for corporate training (for example, see what Oracle does) and large educational archives (for example, Harvard School of Public Health or the MIT Infinite History video archive).

Video SEO

Transcripts and captions improve video SEO because search engines are able to index the spoken content instead of just the video title and tags. You can learn more about the SEO benefits of captioning from the white paper ROI Analysis and SEO Benefits of Closed Captioning

Online Video Rapidly Increasing

Online videos are an essential part of content strategy for corporate training and communications, digital marketing, and entertainment. YouTube has grown exponentially, and Facebook launched native video that seeks to challenge YouTube as an online video platform.

Here are just a few stats to illustrate the growth of web videos:

If you need captions to comply with new regulations or want to make your online video searchable and SEO-friendly, find out how to start captioning your videos. Attend our next free Quickstart to Captioning webinar:

Read the free report: 2017 State of Captioning.

The closed caption CC icon shown in the middle of a TV.