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NAB Perspectives: 3Play Media’s Mitchell Says FCC Guidelines Are Changing Video Captioning

April 24th, 2015 Posted in Headlines By Brandon Costa

In the coming months and years, the FCC and directives from the American Disabilities Act are going to mean more-stringent guidelines for the closed-captioning of clips posted to the Web by major broadcasters. Companies like 3Play Media, which made its presence felt at the LVCC, are in a position to help in that process.

According to Charlie Mitchell, VP, media and entertainment sales, 3Play Media, “the days of being able to publish content online using the original live caption … are going to be over.” SVG caught up with him to discuss the captioning process and how broadcasters need to prepare themselves for this new age of captioning.

Charlie Mitchell, VP, media and entertainment sales, at the 3Play Media booth

Charlie Mitchell, VP, media and entertainment sales, at the 3Play Media booth

How does what you’re showing here apply to the sports folks?
As you know, the FCC continues to give more regulations over what has to be captioned online. So people like Time Warner Sports, who is a customer of ours, have a backlog of original content, stuff that was captioned when it was live but was never captioned for the Web.

We don’t do live captioning. What we will do is take those files and create whatever form of captioning format that you need, whether it’s going to iTunes, your Website, YouTube. We’re fully integrated with all of those video platforms.

As of January 2016, even clips have to be captioned online; right now, it’s only full-length content. What would happen previously is, you have a full game or a full highlight show and you captioned it [and] now you want to take that file and cut it down and post clips online. You actually had to do the cutdown and the edit and send the whole thing back in to get recaptioned.

What we are launching here at the show that is really relevant is essentially an algorithm: even if we didn’t create your original caption, you can send us the caption file that you had on the long-form content and the video clip, and the algorithm allows us to go in and extract just the pieces you need for the clip and marry it back into the clip. And we can do that at a price point that is unbelievable. If there’s a large sports broadcaster that hasn’t been here [at the booth] this week, I can’t find who they are.

What about your services helps you stand out from the crowd?
We guarantee 99.6% accuracy [and] really fast turnaround, and we marry your content to all of the various video platforms you want to distribute to. So it really comes down to speed to market, the accuracy, and the price.

What you would do is upload the file. We run it through our speech-to-text algorithm, and it does the best it can; for talking-head-type news stuff, it can be pretty accurate. From there, it goes out to our distributive workforce, which is all based in the U.S. And English is their native language; we’re not offshoring things. They go in and do the cleanup to make it more accurate. Then it runs through a QC [quality-control] process. We utilize humans for a lot of the QC. From there, it gets sent back into our system, and the user can select the format and frame rate that they want. That’s how it would work for VOD-type stuff.