Saturday, January 31, 2015

Want Smosh Captioned? Go After Defy Media!

It is impossible to get the attention of Smosh. Several people tweeted Smosh in response to Tyler Oakley's video, asking them to caption. But Smosh has over 2.5 million followers on Twitter, which means that a tweet to them never gets noticed. So how to get Smosh to notice your demand for captions?

Answer: Go after Defy Media! Defy Media is the company that owns Smosh and also, a site that also does not caption and recently started offering free movies online. Defy Media has only just over 1,000 followers on Twitter. which means a tweet to them is more likely to be noticed. Defy Media has a facebook page with fewer than 2,000 likes, again that means it is easier to be noticed.

So if you want captions on Smosh - and you should want captions on Smosh, because of Smosh's sheer size and huge potential influence on YouTube if they caption (19 million subscribers on main YouTube channel, a game channel, a cartoon channel, and a movie coming out soon), reach out to the following:

  1. Defy Media Facebook - You can either post on the page, or send a private message.
  2. Defy Media Twitter - @defymedia
  3. Defy Media's President - @keithrichman
  4. Defy Media's Marketing - @eliztesch
  5. Defy Media's Search Engine Optimization Specialist - @hotelcafejunkie
  6. Defy Media's Creative Team - @defycreatives

And, of course, don't forget the #CaptionSmosh petition!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Caption Action 2 Salutes Tyler Oakley!

It finally happened!!! A YouTube Superstar, Tyler Oakley, started closed captioning. Not only that, he went back and captioned his entire video catalog. All SEVEN YEARS' worth of videos are now captioned on Tyler Oakley's YouTube channel!

How big a star is Tyler Oakley and how much of an impact is this having? Huge!! Tyler has six million subscribers on YouTube and over three million followers on Twitter. Tyler also:
  • Won the 2014 Teen Choice Award for male web star
  • Was the 2014 Streamy Award Entertainer of the Year
  • Appeared with Michelle Obama in a video posted four months ago
Last week, Tyler posted a viral video, "Dear YouTube: Hear Me Out,"  that is STILL going strong a week later! As of this writing, it has over 1.2 million views worldwide. Tyler cleverly started the video by talking silently, with no sound. What better way to get the message across? Many of his hearing fans freaked out, thinking that their headphones had broken.

Plus, the hashtag Tyler used, #HearMeOut, trended worldwide on Twitter last week. Suddenly, thousands of hearing people - YouTubers included - became aware that there was a segment of the population missing out! Thousands of people, mostly hearing, tweeted their favorite YouTubers asking them to caption. Furthermore, many people took Tyler up on his invitation to translate the captions into multiple languages. Tyler is still tweeting about captioning. Just today, he tweeted "I'd love to see my YouTube friends join in and caption."

As a result of Tyler's video, many smaller YouTubers have begun closed captioning or announced that they would begin captioning! Over at Captioned Web TV, we have been feeling like kids in a candy store, picking and choosing who to publish. (We can't publish every YouTuber who captions).

Tyler is not the first YouTuber to post a video about the need to caption. In the past couple of months, several YouTubers have tweeted about the need to caption YouTube. Many were inspired by YouTuber Rikki Poynter, in her video Deaf Accessibility on YouTube! (Rikki had earlier also done a video "YouTubers, You Need to Closed Caption Your Videos!")

However, Tyler is the biggest YouTuber to date to tweet and post a video, about the need to closed caption on YouTube. So he has given captioning advocates the biggest boost yet! That boost was sorely needed, given that watching online video has become even more popular with young people.


Many of the top YouTube superstars have been remarkably silent even after Tyler's video was posted and he tweeted. One top YouTube star, Lily Singh, whose IISuperwomanII channel has over 4 million subscribers,  has indicated that she will look into captioning. Another top YouTuber, Hannah Hart, has tweeted in support of captioning, though she doesn't caption yet. However, there has been no reaction from top YouTube stars Pewdiepie, Smosh, or Epic Meal Time. One YouTube superstar is not enough to truly change things. We need more.

Also, we also still have the challenge of getting web series closed captioned. Web series are separate from YouTubers. As we explain it in the Facebook group Caption Action 2, there are two types of YouTube. Type I YouTube encompasses "traditional" YouTubers whose videos do not involve acting and telling stories. Most vloggers are Type I YouTube. Type II YouTube is the "storytelling" type and is closest to traditional television, because it involves real acting and real scripts. Both types of YouTube are important and deaf and hard of hearing people deserve access to both sides of YouTube.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fan Subtitling Flops!

Last year, YouTube introduced Fan Subtitling, a form of crowd-sourced captioning as a potential answer to the problem of lack of captions on top YouTube channels. Even YouTube was essentially admitting its automatic captions are crap. However, Fan Subtitling has turned out to be a big flop, as reported by Sara from Subtitle You Tube:

(Reprinted with permission from the Caption Action 2 facebook group)

While YouTube improved some features, allowing users to submit .SRT files, it also allows multiple users to post multiple captioned versions. There's no collaboration. You could submit captions, and unknowingly know that someone else already did some yesterday--submitted, but still waiting to be approved (which can feel like a waste of time to some captioners).

I spoke to Benny Fine (from the Finebrothers Channel) and he told me that there are many false starts (perhaps due to the clunky editor)--fans get bored, frustrated, don't follow through, and leave unfinished versions of captions. 

Even when you submit captions, there is no way to conveniently notify the content creator that captions have been submitted (for example, via email). Content creators have to sift through each video, manually checking to see if someone has created captions. This gets troublesome if someone wants to caption an old video because no content creator is going spend the time checking through several months of videos just to see if someone captioned it.

....Unless the channels are going to go the extra mile to create a pool of volunteers (a la Rhett and Link), fan subtitling isn't very reliable. Bigger channels that post a couple videos a week can afford the pocket change necessary to caption, while supporting those who make captions for a living.

Wow. This convinced us to remove Fan Subtitling as a viable option from the popular Info for Web TV Producers page at Captioned Web TVThis means that for the top YouTube channels, we need to push for a professional or outsourced captioning solution, meaning that they would have to pay for it. They would have to build it into their video budgets. The smaller YouTube channels are doing the captioning themselves, or in rare cases, outsourcing it as cheaply as possible.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Vote: Does Buzzfeed Video Belong on Captioned Web TV?

Token captioning? Intermittent captioning? Rare captioning? Selective captioning? Occasional captioning? Minimal captioning? We don't know what to call it when a popular YouTube channel like Buzzfeed Video captions only a few videos, and they are far between. Caption Action 2 posted this series of tweets on Twitter and we would like for those of you not on social media to vote by posting a comment on this blog post. If you are on Twitter, send your vote to @captionaction2.  If you are on Facebook and a member of the Caption Action 2 group, you can post a comment on the posting there.

Update 1/4: So far there have been three votes, all on Facebook, and all three say NO to putting Buzzfeed Video on Captioned Web TV.

Tweets About Buzzfeed Video

1. A couple of days ago, I tweeted about a popular channel we refuse to add because of the size of the gap between CC videos. That channel is..
2. ...Buzzfeed Video. Can't even take a screenshot to communicate the gap, it is that big. Last one with CC: 12/18/2014! 0 since.
3. See for yourself here: … (you will have to click "load more" to get down to the last CC one). this isn't fair.
4. When ppl check out a show listed on CWT, there should be at least a 50% chance the current videos will be CC. Ppl should not have to hunt.
5. Don't know if Buzzfeed Video is taking an "after" approach to CC instead of a "before" approach. Would have to check their videos daily.
6. But with the sheer size of the gap, it sure looks to us like an "after" approach, with selective captioning of videos.
7. Vote: Does Buzzfeed Video belong on Captioned Web TV, although with a huge warning note to expect to be disappointed?

Thursday, January 1, 2015


On December 29, a historic video was posted on YouTube: the #WithCaptions video! This video, produced by the Glide video texting app YouTube channel, brought together several deaf talents including Daniel Durant, "Matthew" on Switched at Birth, and the deaf rapper Sean Forbes.

One by one, the deaf people, led by hearing app creator Sarah Glide, talk about the need for captions on YouTube. Real captions, not the automatic captioning ("craptions").  The video uses the catchy hashtag, "#withcaptions." There is no mention of automatic captioning vs real captions - the message is kept simple for maximum impact - caption, period! Viewers are urged to tag the names of YouTube creators they want to see captioning, in the comments area. Already, many top YouTubers have been tagged in the comments, such as Jenna Marbles.

For those of us who are wondering what the fuss is over the craptions, there's a world of difference. If one watches carefully the automatic captioning (autocaps) and compares it to what's being said, they don't always make a lot of sense. Automatic captions must be edited to turn them into understandable captions.

Caption Action 2 is thrilled ("pah!") that this excellent video was created. This is the clearest sign (no pun intended!) that the deaf and hard of hearing community is FED UP with being left out of YouTube. After years of pushing for captions on YouTube and other places, Caption Action 2 is delighted that more people are getting involved - both deaf and hearing. Plus, the Caption Action 2 Facebook group is growing! New people are joining daily, and best of all, more young deaf and hard of hearing people are joining as they recognize the need to advocate for access on YouTube.

After its release, word of the #withcaptions video quickly spread through the deaf and hard of hearing community. This video now has over 11,000 views! It was even tweeted by Marlee Matlin, who, after Caption Action 2 tweeted her to ask for help in getting the word out, responded with a very emphatic YES!!. Work is continuing to get the word out to the people who really need to see it - the YouTube creators. As a result of the #withcaptions campaign, more small YouTubers have begun to caption, and selected ones are being published on the companion Captioned Web TV blogsite.

At the same time,  we will keep the earlier petition to Smosh open until Smosh captions! That petition is growing slowly but steadily, and more importantly, people are posting comments on it. The most recent comment was "My son is an avid Smosh fan, and I would like to be able to understand more of what he is watching."

Watch the #WithCaptions Video and Share It With Everyone You Know!