By January 2013, US federal law will require all online web-videos to be captioned if the content derives from material that was broadcast on TV.
This law, the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (2010), poses big challenges for TV broadcasters and video-creators. What of the uncaptioned material that is online? Automated workflow and accurate solutions are needed for archive-material, and for new content.
For educators, schools and colleges in the US, the law impacts on how digital material is delivered to students. A handful of universities in the US mandate captions and transcripts for online content, but the concept is still fairly new.
This issue was debated at the 2012 South by Southwest summit in Texas:
Read more: The Future of Online Video Captioning
Large media publishers tend to have two video-workflows, one for broadcast and another for online viewing. One workflow system is needed to prepare video-material for viewing, both online and/or via TV broadcast services.
Educators will benefit from this 21st century communications law, in having a wider range of captioned material to use in their classrooms. With Google launching its YouTube For Schools service late in 2011, we can assume (ready-captioned) TV broadcast material will be in this database of footage.
In short, educators, students, schools and colleges alike, will gain from the greater availability of captioned video footage – which is a very good thing.
The challenge for small TV broadcasters outside the US will be to procure the tools to prepare their broadcast material for access via multiple screens (fixed and mobile), but software firms are devising the tools for this process.
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