How Our Customers Are Tackling Video Accessibility in 2021

January 29, 2021 BY SAMANTHA SAULD

2020 was an unprecedented year for many of us, including our customers. With a global pandemic, many of our customers had to switch gears and pivot their video accessibility needs. We were curious to understand how it changed and how it may impact needs in 2021. 

Every holiday season, we survey our customers to better gauge their experience using 3Play Media over the course of the year. This year was no different, except for the fact that so much in our world has shifted. 

In this post, we go over some of the top takeaways from our 2020 Customer Holiday Survey and how our customers are tackling video accessibility in our new digital-first world. 

Learn How to Select the Right Video Accessibility Vendor! ☑️  

1. Covid-19 Has Increased the Need for Video Accessibility 🎥

family watching video on their devices

Around March of 2020, people were forced to shelter-in-place in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many of us had to work, learn, and socialize with loved ones from our homes. 

Since we couldn’t interact in-person, we relied on video more than ever to stay connected. So much so that, the average adult spent nearly 6 and a half hours a day watching TV and online video during lockdown. 

It was clear that the demand for video was high, but how exactly did that affect the need for video accessibility? 

We surveyed our customers to see how captioning and transcription needs were influenced by the pandemic.

Nearly 60% of our customers indicated that the number of hours captioned or transcribed in 2020 was influenced by COVID-19.

This came as no surprise to us. With the need for more video, comes the need to make it accessible to everyone. 

Hearing people aren’t the only ones who depend on video to keep them connected with their network; d/Deaf and hard of hearing individuals do too. Without captions and transcripts, people with hearing loss are excluded from participating in work meetings, virtual classrooms, and much more. When videos are made accessible, users with disabilities can fully engage and interact with others in a meaningful way. 

80% of the group that indicated that COVID-19 impacted their captioning and transcription needs, reported that it caused an increase in their needs.

2020 taught us how important inclusion is, especially in the digital space. Video accessibility doesn’t only benefit people with disabilities, but a variety of users who have different learning styles, viewing preferences, sound sensitivities, and more. 

After looking at the data, it’s obvious how the pandemic increased the demand for video accessibility in 2021, however, we anticipate that this is more than a trend; it’s the way of the future.  

2. There’s a Growing Demand for Live Captioning 🤳

people liking social media video

Live streaming video is all the rage today. Think of the major streaming platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and even Zoom, and how millions of people are watching hours of live video. According to Hubspot, live streaming accounts for 82% of all internet traffic

In a world where we have to stay socially distanced for health and safety reasons, live video is the next best thing. Similar to in-person interactions, you’re able to pick up on nuances in live streams as opposed to a scripted and pre-recorded video. 

In our 2020 survey, 41% of customers indicated that they want to learn more about live captioning, a textual representation of the audio within a live video. 

The need for live captioning has increased significantly because of the sheer demand for live video. Whether it’s streaming your favorite show or briefing your colleagues on company updates, live captions are a necessity. No matter the topic, when live streams incorporate live captions, you ensure accessibility, engagement, and searchability. 

 10 Questions to Ask a Video Accessibility Provider ➡️ 

3. Other-Language Audio Description is on the Rise 🌎

woman listens to audio with headphones

When most people watch a show, film, or video in a foreign language, they tend to turn on subtitles in order to understand the dialogue. Viewers with hearing loss will most likely use subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH). But what about viewers with limited or no sight? That’s where other-language audio description comes in.

Audio description describes relevant and key visual information to viewers who can’t see the screen. It is particularly useful for blind or low vision individuals. With audio description in foreign languages, blind and low vision viewers have the opportunity to understand key visuals in any language. 

Blindness is global, with more than 245 million people who live with it. Although some may assume people with vision loss don’t like watching shows/films and videos, it’s in fact the opposite! Many blind and low vision viewers enjoy watching videos for the same reasons sighted people do. 

When it comes to online video, it’s important that it’s made accessible to all viewers and audio description helps do just that. 

When we asked our customers what languages of audio description they’re interested in, we were intrigued by the results. Many indicated that they’re interested in Spanish (32%), French (9%), and other popular languages. 

Even popular streaming services like Netflix offer audio description in multiple languages

People who are blind and low vision want to watch videos too, and subtitles won’t cut it. Audio description in other languages helps blind people who speak a foreign language understand the dialogue but also the visual imagery on the screen. 

How 3Play is Helping its Customers with Video Accessibility in 2021 and Beyond

Despite the many changes in 2020, it was a successful year for video accessibility. With more awareness about accessibility and the growing number of people relying on video, 3Play has supported our customers throughout all of it and continues to do so.

In addition to making videos accessible, we genuinely care about ensuring that our customers have a great experience achieving it. 

When asked how satisfied they were with the quality, customer support, and deadline compliance, here’s how our customers rated us:

  • Quality: 4.5 out of 5 in 2020, compared to 4.4 out of 5 in 2019
  • Customer Support: 4.5 out of 5 in 2020, compared to 4.4 out of 5 in 2019
  • Deadline Compliance: 4.4 out of 5 (no comparison – new question)

With a challenging year like 2020, we’re honored to have been rated so positively by our customers. As the needs for video accessibility change, it’s important that we equip our customers with the best tools in 2021 and beyond. 


Ensure your 2021 video accessibility needs are met! 👇
10 Questions to Ask a Video Accessibility Vendor downloadable checklist

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