If you've been reading ReelSEO for some time, you'll know that closed captioning for web video can be a powerful way to increase reach and an excellent way to help search engines more easily understand, and rank your web video assets. Not only that, but with the signing of the 21st Video Accessibility Act, some broadcasters are now required to include closed captions with web video content.
The combination of the incredible growth of web video and these new regulations have created new challenges for many video publishers. Thankfully, there are solutions that can help and one such company, RAMP (formerly everyzing), a leader in extracting metadata from multimedia content, has announced the launch of their "end-to-end" Web Closed Captioning solution (more details here.)
Time-Coded Metadata & Closed Captioning
Last week I spoke with Tom Wilde, CEO for RAMP, about their new solution, as well as the current state of closed captioning and time-coded metadata (metadata that is associated with a specific time within a dynamic media asset).
"Online video has become a mainstream phenomenon, and with it all the complexities and challenges of publishing on the web. How do you get your content discovered? How to you make it searchable? How do you target ads to it and more. Timecoded metadata, which has historically only been interesting to librarians, turns out to be the key that unlocks all of this value. The big challenge is how to create video metadata accurately and at the scale the Web requires," said Tom Wilde.
The Challenges with Closed Captioning:
President Obama's signing of the 21st Video Accessibility Act means that some broadcasters are now required by law to add closed captioning to their video content (in particular, for video that is first broadcast on TV and then re-purposed on the web).
"The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act will make it easier for people who are deaf, blind or live with a visual impairment to do what many of us take for granted... It sets new standards so that Americans with disabilities can take advantage of the technology our economy depends on," - Said President Obama at the signing.
Combine that with the growth of Internet TV and the overall growth of video content distributed via the web => transcription and closed captioning have emerged as a critical need for large broadcasters and publishers producing lots of video content. This need, is one that best solved with an automated solution to assist in extracting and displaying closed captions.
The Benefits of Closed Captioning: Accessibility, SEO, Engagement
Even publishers who may not be required to implement closed captioning could stand to benefit from closed captions and transcripts. Besides the obvious benefit of reaching those that are hearing-impaired and/or those that may want to watch your video content without the audio turned on (e.g. - watching from work) - there are several benefits to both users and publishers including SEO benefits and increased viewer engagement.
SEO Benefits of Closed Captions, Transcripts, Time-coded Metadata:
I'm going to keep this part short as I've previously written a few times about the power that closed captioning and transcripts can provide when it comes to assisting the search engines in better analyzing and ranking your video assets for relevant keyword searches. You can read more about those benefits here:
- Video Accessibility, Closed Captions, And Video SEO
- In-Depth Look At YouTube Closed Captions (specific to Google/YouTube)
Increasing User Engagement and Video Views
In addition to the SEO and discovery benefits, Tom shared with me several compelling findings from their whitepaper, "Lean Forward Video, The New Rules of Publishing Video on the Internet," indicating that users actually consume more video content, in a more engaging way when closed captioning, topical tagging, and in-video search features ("lean forward") are present.
Among the publisher websites analyzed in their whitepaper, the inclusion of features like captioning and in-video search increased video consumption by as much as 300%. In addition, visitors who actually engaged with these "lean forward" features generated, on average, 4X as much time on site and watch 4X more video than users who did not.
Suffice to say, closed captioning is not only required in some instances, but it offers several other benefits that all publishers could use.
RAMP's New Web Closed Captions Solution
RAMP Ramped Up 1 Billion Time-Coded Tags
Earlier this month RAMP announced that it had processed 1 billion time-stamped tags from 20 million minutes of audio and video content for premium media customers. That's the equivalent of processing audio tracks for 22,222 full-length movie releases (with an average 1.5 hr duration) or 38 years worth of multimedia content. They've been at this for some time.
RAMP's Web Closed Captioning Service
Yesterday, RAMP launched a new product offering - their Web Closed Captioning solution (more details here.)
According to Tom, while they've been at the game of using speech-to-text recognition technology to extract time-coded metadata for some time, the new product adds the element of a human editorial quality review so as to increase the accuracy of the time-coded transcript output. This output can then be delivered in multiple different formats and/or to popular video content management systems that RAMP has worked with to integrate the delivery and display of closed captions.
Here's a bit about the product from their own website:
- Simple, inexpensive per minute transcription pricing
- Flexible content ingestion via uploads and feeds, as well as integration with popular video CMS solutions such as Brightcove and thePlatform
- Highly accurate, human edited timecoded transcripts
- Audio Text Alignment ("ATA”) of existing broadcast caption files and scripts to create timecoded transcripts
- Flexible output formats including DFXP, SubRip, SMIL and more
Quick RAMP Overview
For a quick background on RAMP (which you can also read about here), they are a content optimization platform with a specific lean towards audio and video content. RAMP's patented technology was developed from years of government research and development in the field of speech recognition, natural language processing, and semantic search. They use this patented core technology for ingesting, transcribing, tagging and formatting of video and audio content as part of their various publisher solutions and applications (closed captioning, MediaCloud, MetaPlayer, universal tagging, etc...). They have helped to power video discovery for CNBC, Thomson Reuters, Fox, and many other large publishers online. About a year ago, they changed their name from Everyzing, to Ramp - which I think is a much cooler name if you ask me (and makes me really want to include a skateboarding reference in here but I resisted).
Thank you Tom for taking the time to talk with me and congratulations on processing 1.2 BILLION seconds worth of multimedia content.