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Closed Captioning Overview

Closed captioning can be a bit of a deep rabbit hole so below is a primer on how captions work and some of the broad strokes in deciding if you should add them to your video. As always, we are happy to discuss this in details should you have any questions.

CHAMP completely supports closed captions for both Live and VOD media. The only cost associated with adding captions is the cost to have them generated.

What Are Closed Captions?

Closed captioning is a process by which ancillary data is added to your video to display text when activated by the viewer. This is done in one of two ways, embedding the data in the video itself, or as a “sidecar” text file.

Closed captions differ from “open captions” by the fact that the viewer must activate the captions to see them. Open captions simply means that the captions are always on display because they are “burned” into the video.

How Much Does It Cost?

CHAMP does not charge anything to display captions because they are completely supported in our platform for both Live and VOD media. There is no cost to display captions on your CHAMP |Video suite of services.

The cost for adding closed captions to your service comes down to the generation of the captions and those cost vary based on the type of method used (see below).

The takeaway is that if you have caption data, in most cases you can display on your CHAMP service at no additional costs.

How Are Captions Generated?

In a nutshell, captions can be generated in one-of-two ways:

  1. Human generated: the highest quality captions available
  2. Automated (aka software generated): Less expensive but not as accurate

Since this topic can get rather technical, we created a detailed article to provide more information, which you can find here.

What About YouTube Captions?

YouTube provides automated captions, which means that you’ll want to review what is generated to make sure it’s accurate. The added labor to have the captions generated, exported, edited and then added to your account would be a tedious endeavor.

We’d recommend simply adding the CHAMP Automated Captions add-on if you’re wanting to use software to generate your captions.

Do We Have To Display Captions?

This is a decision that only your jurisdiction can make – and there may be exemptions to the rules.  However, to properly answer the question of if you are required to provide captions, you’ll really want to get a legal opinion.

It depends on the guidelines/regulaations that your jurisdiction wishes to follow. Below are a few to consider.

ADA Regulations & Section 508 Regulations

The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted in 1990 to ensure equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act was introduced in 1998 and details requirements of Closed captioning.

State Laws

Many states have adopted Section 508 federal regulations, among other standards, into their own laws. If your state has done this, then you may be required to provide captions.

FCC Guidelines

If your video is distributed on television, in addition to streaming on your web site, then there are FCC guidelines that may apply to you.

  1. FCC Rules For Web Captions
    “The Internet closed captioning rules only apply if the video programming was shown on TV in the U.S. with captions”
  2. FCC Self Exemption
    “No video programming provider shall be required to expend any money to caption any video programming if such expenditure would exceed 2% of the gross revenues received from that channel during the previous calendar year.”

    “No video programming provider shall be required to expend any money to caption any channel of video programming producing annual gross revenues of less than $3,000,000”

Updated on May 18, 2020

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