Guest Post: The Future of Closed Captioning in Live Streams

When people think of real-time captions, their first thought is usually large-scale live broadcast television events like the Academy Awards or the Super Bowl. This notion could soon change as the United States Department of Justice begins to enforce website accessibility requirements.

The standards set forth in Title III of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) were originally designed with regard to physical spaces meant for public accommodation. However, recent statements from the Department of Justice have made clear that online content and services are considered a “public accommodation” and that a lack of compliance can result in legal action.

The Department of Justice is still in the process of developing specific regulations on how to achieve ADA compliance on the Web, with a current timeline of fiscal year 2018. In the face of unspecified and pending legislation, many organizations are looking to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, specifically level AA, as a minimum standard for their accessibility strategy. To conform to Level AA guidelines, live streaming videos must have closed captions.

While the specific regulations are not yet available, the Department of Justice has stated, “The fact that the regulatory process is not yet complete in no way indicates that web services are not already covered by Title III.” Title III lawsuits are up 63% through the first half of 2016 and are on pace to top 7,000 for the entire year.

From Education to Government, Broadcast to Enterprise, incorporating real-time captioning into streaming workflows will greatly reduce delivery complications as content providers make their content accessible. By streaming live content through Wowza Streaming Engine and connecting to CaptionMax, you can ensure that audiences are able to watch live content on any device, with captions available on demand.

CaptionMax offers captioning services for all technology platforms and tape formats, including offline and real-time captioning services.

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