Why All Video Content Should Be Made Accessible
Cisco estimates that online video will be responsible for 50% of all internet traffic this year and they predict that, by 2015, one million minutes of online video will be viewed every second.
RegulationRegulation obliging broadcasters to make their programmes accessible has made significant progress over the last two decades.
At Red Bee, we have supported the BBC and Channel 4 to the point where they are subtitling 100% of their programmes. We’ve done the same in France with Canal + and M6. We’re heading in the same direction in Australia and Spain, and we’re now seeing good growth in subtitling on German channels. Many channels in the UK are also now well beyond 20% audio description. Every continent has accessibility regulation – there’s never been more accessible video out there.
Despite this, because of the massive growth in online video, as a proportion of total video available, accessibility is reducing.
TechnologyThe technology is doing its bit. Speech recognition development in particular is flourishing.
Interests as diverse as military intelligence, car manufacturers, gaming companies and mobile device manufacturers all see speech recognition as a vital technology and the access industry can certainly benefit from all of that investment. Red Bee has long used speech recognition in our subtitling production processes and the degree to which it can automate routine processes in text creation is increasing, improving both quality and productivity and reducing the unit cost to the content owner.
A new demand modelSo regulation is proving effective and the technology is improving. However, this still only affects an increasingly small percentage of the content out there.
How do we go beyond the traditional regulatory model to persuade every owner of a piece of video that they should make it accessible?
The answer may lie in straightforward self-interest. If you produce a piece of video that you want people to watch, then the small investment in a timed transcript, giving a second-by-second account of the video, will pay back many times over. If you are the owner, it is how you will keep track of what you have in your video archive, how you will find and retrieve video, and how you will discover otherwise hidden semantic connections between different bits of content.
And it is these metadata elements that will enable people to search for and find your video, to navigate around it, to link from it to other bits of connected or related video, to get recommendations for new things they might be interested in.
It is this that will enable the content owner to target relevant advertising at the viewer, and that will enable them to include links to other products or services that the viewer might buy.
So whether you’re a national institution with a video archive, a government with information to communicate, a brand with a video-rich website or an established broadcaster, you’re helping yourself while helping others by making the content accessible through subtitling and audio description. It is the only way you will derive the fullest value from that video over its lifetime.
David Padmore, Director of Access and Editorial
This post is part of our on-going blog series about access services