Budgets Are Growing, but Video Is Growing Faster

July 18, 2018 BY ELISA LEWIS
Updated: February 10, 2021

By 2019, 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video.

With video growing so rapidly, it’s no surprise that respondents from our 2018 State of Captioning survey reported increased budgets since the previous year. In 2017, 16% of organizations reported an annual captioning budget over $10,000 compared with 32% of organizations in 2018. However, while budgets may have increased, the majority of respondents still reported budget as their biggest barrier to captioning video content, with 58% in 2017, and 64% in 2018. How is this the case?

graph showing that 16% of organizations have an annual captioning budget over $10,000 in 2017, compared with 32% in 2018

If we look back at the sheer amount of video produced in 2018, we see that 29% of organizations reported publishing more than 500 hours of video content annually, compared to 17% in 2017. It seems fair to say then, that increasing the budget slightly doesn’t begin to meet the captioning needs of the increased amount of video content being produced. As video continues to increase, it will be difficult for organizations to find the funding needed to make the increased amount of content accessible. This blog post offers tips on how to make the most of the budget you have, and maximize the amount of content you can make accessible.

graph showing that in 2017 17% of organizations publish more than 500 hours of video content annually, and in 2018 it is 29% Tip 1: Don’t Cut Corners on Caption Quality

As video increases, so will the need to caption your videos. Thinking long-term can help to save you money down the road. Many organizations, particularly with few hours of content, try DIY captions or a low-cost vendor to start. Many later realize – after spending a lot of time and money on in-house cleanup and review – they should not have cut corners at the beginning.

scissor cutting corner of a square

There is certainly a wide range of prices and accuracy levels across captioning vendors. While the low-cost option may sound ideal, you may be sacrificing accuracy, which can result in more work and additional costs in the future. Finding a captioning solution that is cost-effective and offers high-quality captions will be the most scalable option.

Honestly, if we had just gone ahead and outsourced those minutes, we would have saved close to $7,000.

Korey Singleton
George Mason University

Tip 2: Plan Ahead

pencil and paper

In addition to planning ahead when it comes to caption quality, there are a number of other ways you can save money by planning for the future.

For example, if you have a lot of content that needs to be captioned, some vendors will offer bulk discounts. 3Play Media offers bulk discounts, as well as discounted extended turnaround options for files you don’t need back right away. Having a slew of video files you need captioned, and submitting them far enough in advance to take advantage of these discounts can save you a significant amount of money – and a headache!

Tip 3: Supplement Your Budget with Grants and Other Funding

While budget is a limiting factor, there are several funding resources, including grants and awards, that can be applied to closed captioning. Some of these are only applicable to institutions of higher learning, however there are additional ways to fund captions for other various content and organizations, as well.


  • Grants: There are several federally funded grants in the US that you may qualify for. Visit the Federal Register for information about captioning grants and applications from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Additionally, there may be other local grants you qualify for, such as the Distance Education Captioning and Transcription grant (DECT) for California Community Colleges.
  • Tax credits: If your organization or business provides captions as an accommodation for employees who are Deaf or hard of hearing, you may qualify for federal tax credits. The IRS provides detailed information about qualifying for federal tax credits.
  • Crowdfunding: Even if you are not eligible for grants or credits, there are other ways to raise funds for captioning. People have created crowdfunding campaigns for much crazier things than captioning, so why not give it a try?
  • Private funding: Closed captions for broadcast are often funded by private institutions, so why shouldn’t online video captions? Consider asking for funding from private foundations, corporations, and individuals to help increase your captioning efforts.

You can’t always control your budget, but you certainly can try to make the most of what you have. Respondents from the 2018 State of Captioning see their captioning needs increasing next year, in 2019. Although budgets may increase as well, as we continue on this trajectory, budgets will likely still fall short in comparison to the amount of content. Following theses tips and getting creative can help to get more for your money.

Get Started with captioning today!

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