Saturday, January 25, 2014

Free Captioning - Any Takers?

How hard is it to get producers of Web television programs to closed caption? Unless it is a well-known producer (, Hulu), hard! Caption Action 2 has reached out to around 1,000 web TV producers so far and of those, only a couple of hundred were willing to caption. This is why the blogsite has fewer than 300 entries on it. Will offering free captioning services be the breakthrough needed?

Web TV producers that have been contacted in the past 3 years have usually cited time and money as reasons for not captioning. But, the cost to closed caption a web TV program is minimal. The going rate to closed caption can be as little as $2 a minute for an accurate transcript to upload to YouTube to create quality captions. Therefore, it is possible to closed caption an entire season of a web TV program (10 five-minute episodes) for as little as $100. That's pocket change compared to the average cost of producing a web TV program.

But the primary problem encountered is that by and large, web TV producers simply do not want to pay for captioning services. They frequently view captioning as a nice little extra to have. Often, the response on Twitter is "good idea!" Good idea? They view captioning as a "good idea" instead of as a basic necessity?

Most of the web TV producers that are captioning, are not paying for it. They are doing it themselves, with varying degrees of proficiency. If they were more willing to pay for captioning services just like they are willing to pay for other basic necessities as part of production costs, we would have a lot more captioned web TV out there.

Captioning service providers for their part, are equally frustrated. How to overcome this attitude among web TV producers? Two captioning service providers that can not be named here, have decided to offer a free sample of captioning services. The two providers gave Caption Action 2 a special code/secret instructions to give to web TV producers to get 5 or 10 minutes of free captioning services.

The hope is that once web TV producers try it for free, they will decide to buy captioning services. It has been less than 24 hours since the word was put out on Twitter. Despite some re-tweets (RT in Twitter language) not a single producer has contacted Caption Action 2 (@deafnessguide) to take up the offer. If you know of a web TV program that you wish was captioned, tell them to contact Caption Action 2 to get the special code and instructions sent by private email.

If web TV producers won't accept even an offer of FREE captioning services, then Houston, we've got a problem!

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