The announcement by The FeedRoom (news, site) that it has teamed up with 3Play Media is the most recent step by the provider of Web video and digital media solutions to broaden the appeal of its Enterprise Video Platform (EVP).
This new partnership will give The FeedRoom another edge by providing its EVP with the ability to produce high-quality video captions in compliance with Section 508 of the American Rehabilitation Act. This regulation obliges organizations, particularly in the public sector, to make information available to people with special needs or disabilities.
More interesting at an industry level is that The FeedRoom is investing considerable resources in making EVPO v4.0 open to a significantly wider audience than it had prior to the October 2008 release. In May 2009, it partnered with Clearspring Technologies to allow users to bookmark and share video content on social networks and blogs, giving them wider access to all kinds of social media.
And then last month, a SaaS version of its v4.0 Enterprise Video Platform (EVP) was released, making it accessible to a much more economically diverse market.
Speech And Computer Interaction
For its part, 3Play Media brings all the clout and weight you would expect from a MIT start-up and is built around software developed by the Spoken Language Systems Group, an offshoot of the Institute's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
What it does is streamline human ability to transcribe audio files and provide search and navigation capabilities through time synchronization.
Developing Captioning Market
But why bother captioning at all. Well, there are 28 million people in the US alone that are either deaf, or have hearing disabilities.
There is also a huge world out there of potential clients in the shape of online video users who just can’t make out the entire text of a video presentation because. . .well because they don’t speak English as their primary language.
Oh, and then there are also the compliance issues. As it stands, the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009 is currently before Congress. When -- rather than if -- that gets passed, all electronic devices from PCs to iPods will be obliged to support captions.
In total that’s a very large market with a lot of dollars to spend.
Competition in the web video market is really beginning to bubble. Not just because more people are using it on their websites, but because competing companies keep upping the ante.
For example, Kaltura lead the race to the (price) bottom by making its open source video solution free.
All that remains now is to see who does what to turn the heat up again, and how soon they will do it.