Top 12 of 2012 #4 – captions come to SBS online

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Thursday, 6 December 2012 11:28am

In July, SBS became the second Australian television network to offer captions on its catch-up service.

The technology that makes SBS’s online closed captioning possible is a point of innovation. A system was developed by SBS which automatically reformats pre-prepared captions which were broadcast on television. It has not yet been possible to provide captions for live content, such as news and sport, but SBS has informed us that this is an issue they are working to resolve.

SBS won the Online Captioning and Digital Innovation Award at the Deafness Forum of Australia Captioning Awards for this innovative technology.

The flow on of captioning from the broadcast services to catch up TV has gained some momentum in the last year, especially in the UK and North America. The ABC has been providing captions on approximately 30 per cent of its programs offered on its iView service since 2010, and has demonstrated a significant commitment by carrying across captioning to its mobile apps. While Seven, Nine, Ten and FOXTEL offer catch-up services, none have made any progress towards access for their Deaf and hearing impaired viewers.

Captions are not only essential for people who are Deaf and hearing impaired, but can assist those who speak English as an additional language. As the multicultural broadcaster, SBS has further catered for this group by providing captions online.

SBS On Demand features captioned drama, documentary and film content which is available for seven to 30 days after broadcast. Highlights available now include the drama Hunted starring Australian actor Melissa George, and documentary series America in Primetime.

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