Given the new round of FCC captioning standards that entered into the National Register this week, it is little surprise that an increasing number of web series producers are electing to caption their web-only content. Though web-only series that have never aired on broadcast TV are not required by law to be captioned, one can only expect that just such legislation is around the corner. However, legal obligation is hardly the only reason to caption video content: captioning a web series not only makes your content accessible to over 50 million Americans who are hard of hearing or deaf, but also improves the SEO results for your videos, making them more likely to appear more often in a Google search. Captions also lend a professional quality to your content, similar to that of a broadcast TV production.
Captioning advocate Jamie Berke has established a website for the very purpose of encouraging web series’ producers to caption. The site directs deaf and hard of hearing web viewers to content that is captioned by a YouTube ready vendor — not the automatic captions of YouTube — and is therefore accessible. As an additional benefit, the site celebrates web series that have elected to caption their web content by providing them with free promotional material. “Web TV captioning is not the future. It is now,” said Jamie.
VITAC is participating in the new web-series captioning push, as well. We have the capability to caption any web platform that supports captioning, including YouTube and Vimeo. Tune in next week when we will publish a captioned sample of the indie web series Oh, Liza.