Is this a legitimate concern? No, it is not! For an answer, Caption Action 2 turned to Larry Goldberg of WGBH. Why Mr. Goldberg? PBS is captioning quite a bit online, and everyone knows PBS is not exactly rolling in dough. So how is PBS doing it?
Mr. Goldberg's response: "All of the PBS programs which have captions on them on the PBS websites were already captioned for broadcast, so with a little human intervention and a little automation, it doesn’t cost that much at all. I would say the same is probably true for the captions seen on many TV shows on Hulu.com, ABC.com, NBC.com, Fox.com and others."
Human intervention? A little automation? Caption Action 2 requested further clarification from Mr. Goldberg, who replied:
"The automated part is the transformation of the caption files from the broadcast closed-captioning data format into the web timed-text data format.
The human intervention is the possible need to edit the files slightly due to addition or deletion of ads, and thus change the timing."
So if you contact your Representative and he or she replies that they are concerned about the potential cost of captioning regular TV on the Internet, you can truthfully tell them that the cost is minimal.