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Are You Ready for the Closed-Captioning Deluge? - TvTechnology

Are You Ready for the Closed-Captioning Deluge?

To meet new federal guidelines, stations are looking closely at the reliability, cost savings and compliance capabilities of automated closed captioning technology
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When the government comes to check on your compliance, will you be ready?

That’s a question content creators of all stripes must ask themselves as the industry attempts to keep on top of the growing deluge of content that must now be captioned.

In years past, the only captioning you’d be likely to see was on mainstream broadcast programming. No longer. The newly enacted Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) has mandated that anyvideo that’s been broadcast on television must have captions—even those programs that go on to be streamed over the internet.

That means everything, including full-length programming and even short video clips. Yes, even those.

For OTT operators, broadcasters and other content creators, the question to ask is: Now what? The first step is to determine how to create timely and accurate captioning for all different types of video in a way that allows you to keep up with the deluge of content that will only grow over time—and keeps cost in mind.

enCaption3 R2 Automated CaptioningENCO’s latest solution is always on and always available, and addresses the issues facing content creators fed up with the high price of closed captioning,

GETTING STARTED

For a growing number of broadcasters and content creators, the first step is to look at technologies that are automating the captioning process. This type of technology can address several key issues:

• Minimizing human error by automating the captioning process for live video;

• Offering audio transcription in near-real-time (typically within six seconds);

• Improving accuracy with an enhanced recognition engine that picks up patterns of speech from any voice;

• Providing around-the-clock generation to ensure that captions are being created when needed, as opposed to caption generation only when a captioner is on staff;

• Setting up personalized localization features, which ensure that local venues, individuals and locales are spelled accurately;

• Reducing overall cost;

• Providing multiple language functionality;

• Offering minimal operator intervention.

Those features led one local broadcaster to look at automated captioning for its city council, school board and planning commission meetings. WCTV Chesapeake Television wanted to reach additional residents throughout the Chesapeake, Va., viewing area, and looked toward an automated system that could be customized to the Tidewater area of Virginia, which has its own unique diction and dialect. The system could “learn,” too, as it went along.

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That was the just one of the goals for captioning company ENCO, which saw broadcasters and PEG channels like WCTV attempting to meet the demand for captioned programs.

“It has been so hard for content creators to stay compliant,” said Ken Frommert, general manager of the captioning company ENCO.

The issue was even more complicated for a local government channel in Colorado. The channel serves a politically active and civically minded city of more than 103,000, and found itself in a unique position after the local city council asked the station to provide closed captioning of every city council meeting for the city’s hearing-impaired viewers.

The concept was admirable, but having an on-call captioner on-staff would be a costly venture. With the channel’s limited staff and budget, this kind of undertaking would undoubtedly be expensive, said the station’s senior producer and engineer.

The station found a solution in an automated captioning system. The PEG channel installed an automated system that the station’s operators can turn on and off during live programming as needed, which directly addressed the cost issue. Installation ended up being less than half the cost of operating a traditional closed captioning process, the producer said.

There’s a similar story being shared by a 24/7 home shopping cable TV network. The Liquidation Channel, a network based in Austin, Texas, has expanded its reach to more than 80 million households by doing what home shopping networks do best, connecting with consumers through a series of animated, ironic, funny and engaging hosts—all who speak with unique lilts, accents and patterns of speech that could be hard for a live captioner to decipher.

The answer was to install a new closed captioning system that automatically and accurately converts all that speech in near real time.

For the home shopping network, the biggest selling point was cost.

“When it comes to live closed captioning, especially for a 24/7 broadcast network like this, you can be looking at a multimillion-dollar investment to retain a live captioning service,” said Jeremy Mott, senior broadcast engineer for the Liquidation Channel. “But with the enCaption3R3, we can have live closed captioning around the clock for an affordable monthly fee, making it a very cost-effective way to caption 24/7 broadcasts.”

That’s the feedback ENCO has been hearing from its customers on its enCaption3R3 system. “Our product allows content creators to have captioning available to them 24/7 at a much less-expensive cost,” Frommert said. “In a lot of cases, it’s cost prohibitive to have certain content captioned. This allows both small and large broadcasters and content creators to improve their offerings.”

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

ENCO Announces Launch of Next Gen Automated Closed Captioning System — In the fall of 2016, ENCO launched the latest version of its enCaption automated closed captioning system.

The Case for Automating Closed Captioning — A look at current closed-captioning rules, and what features and functionality broadcasters and content creators should be on the lookout for when it comes to selecting a captioning provider.

Liquidation Channel A look at how this 24/7 home shopping channel accelerated and refined its closed captioning efforts while simultaneously minimizing the costs typically associated with captioning.

WCTV Chesapeake Television — In an effort to reach additional residents and address the concerns of unique audiences, WCTV Chesapeake Television has begun offering automated closed captioning on local city council, planning commission and school board meetings.

enCaption3 R3 brochure — The company’s current captioning system tackles the high-cost of traditional captioning by offering an automated solution.