Video and Media Accessibility Predictions for 2022

December 27, 2021 BY REBECCA KLEIN
Updated: December 30, 2021

As we reflect on another year of challenge and change for society, 3Play Media co-founders and co-CEOs Chris Antunes and Josh Miller propose thoughtful video and media accessibility predictions for the year ahead.

We learned invaluable video lessons throughout our second calendar year with the COVID-19 pandemic. We relied heavily on virtual and hybrid platforms, dipped our toes back into in-person events, and saw more conversation and action around digital accessibility than ever before.

Looking forward to 2022 gives us a chance to step back and consider trends from the past year and their impacts on the future of video and media. Read on to learn Chris and Josh’s predictions for 2022.


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1. Virtual and hybrid events are here to stay.

Though we’re still a long way from the pre-pandemic world, we’ve learned about some of the advantages of remote learning and communication.

While vaccines have brought increased protection for in-person gatherings, herd immunity is likely out of reach in the United States, pointing to the importance of virtual and hybrid events.

We predict that virtual and hybrid events are here to stay no matter the future of the pandemic and that there is a newfound requirement for accessible communication in all languages. Localization needs will increase, and more companies will translate video content into multiple languages to fit the needs of global employees, customers, and audiences.

2. Hybrid work environments are here to stay, and video solutions are at the center of the productivity conversation.

In the corporate setting, accessibility at internal events and meetings will be front and center.

Chris and Josh predict that, like other IT and presentation matters, video solutions such as closed and live captioning will become more normalized in 2022. Companies will address video solutions as less of a retroactive accommodation and more as a proactive necessity for hybrid productivity and inclusivity.

 Stay up-to-date on video accessibility requirements. Download the checklist ➡️ 

3. More organizations will implement accessibility practices before being told they must.

Following the social justice movements of 2020 and 2021, such as Black Lives matter, more organizations formalized practices to support Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Accessibility (DEIBA). Chris and Josh expect this trend to increase throughout 2022, as it has become increasingly clear that employees and incoming candidates care about company efforts in this area. For example, in a 2021 study by CNBC, nearly 80% of those surveyed said they want to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion issues.

As we’ve seen with the Great Resignation, employees are considering their options, and leaders are grappling with how to promote meaningful and inclusive work. In particular, young professionals are setting a higher bar for DEIBA, and organizational leaders will risk losing out on talent by not prioritizing accessibility.

4. Accessibility and disability inclusion will continue to become mainstream and prioritized.

Advertising campaigns for major brands and products, such as Google and Amazon, are more frequently including diverse sets of people, including folks with disabilities. Additionally, organizations such as Valuable500 and Inclusively are shining a light on the hiring and inclusion of people with disabilities.

While disability inclusion still has a long way to go across industries—a 2021 Nielsen study found that just 1% of primetime ads on broadcast and cable TV during February 2021 showed someone with a disability, despite the fact that 26% of the U.S. population lives with a disability—Chris and Josh predict efforts will continue to become more mainstream and prioritized in 2022.

5. Accessibility for Extended Reality will continue to evolve.

We’re not quite sure what video accessibility will look like in Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and the Metaverse. Still, industry leaders are already exploring accessibility in these emerging spaces.

Chris and Josh expect 2022 to yield more research, publication, and standard-setting in this area. Researchers and advocates will continue to explore topics such as captioning in XR, compatibility with assistive technologies, and accessibility for people with mobility disabilities.


6. There will be significant fundraising, M&A, and market activity around video, machine learning, and accessibility.

In 2021, solutions across all video, machine learning, and accessibility industries saw record levels of fundraising and growth.

This trend is external validation of the excitement and activity we’re experiencing at 3Play Media, and Chris and Josh predict this trend will continue in 2022.

 Ensure you videos are accessible with our video accessibility checklist ➡️ 


7. Clearer standards will emerge for live video accessibility.

The unfortunate truth of the ubiquity of live video, broadcast, and OTT content is that it’s impossible to professionally caption all of it, given the current supply of skilled labor. This reality poses the questions:

  1. Is Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) acceptable or encouraged in some circumstances?
  2. When is professional captioning vital for accessibility, and when are ASR captions sufficient?
  3. Are there more explicit legal standards that will help organizations decide when and where to use different types of live captions?

While Chris and Josh don’t have the answers to these questions, they predict 2022 will bring to light clearer standards for live video accessibility.

8. Transcription will become ubiquitous for podcasts and other audio-only content in the next five years.

While we have always recognized the benefits of adding transcripts for audio-only content, such as increasing accessibility and boosting SEO, the podcast industry has been slow to implement accessibility for people who are d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing.

However, the recent National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) v. SiriusXM, Stitcher, and Pandora lawsuit will have profound impacts on podcasting for years to come.

The podcast lawsuit is strikingly similar to the landmark NAD v. Netflix lawsuit, which set a legal precedent for streaming platforms to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act by providing captions for all videos. Netflix was ordered to caption all of its videos by 2014, when captioning for streaming platforms was just emerging. In 2021, captions for streaming platforms are ubiquitous.

Chris and Josh predict that NAD v. SiriusXM, Stitcher, and Pandora could easily achieve the same foundational change for transcription in the podcast industry.

Are your videos accessible? Read the checklist.


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