Access Services

We Provide Access Services including: Closed Captioning, HoH, SDH, and AD

As of February 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, and 285 million people are visually impaired. Lack of either hearing or visual ability leads to profound functional, economic, social and emotional impact. Access to media through closed captioning services is an important part of inclusion for these individuals and is beginning to be treated as a basic human right by media regulators worldwide.

Assistive Technologies enable people with hearing and visual impairments to gain access to media content. There are 3 main access services for the hearing impaired: Closed Captioning (CC),subtitles for the Hard of Hearing (HoH) and subtitles for the deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (SDH). For the visually impaired there is audio description (AD), which is also known as video description.

Subtitles or closed captioning are textual versions of the dialogue, usually displayed at the bottom of the screen with added information, such as speaker IDs and sound effect descriptors, to aid the deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers in following the dialogue. Users of closed captioning and subtitles include people who have experienced hearing loss later in life and those who have been deaf since birth. In addition, some people use these captioning services for other reasons, such as to watch television with the sound muted or to learn English, though they are not the target audience.

Sign language employs manual gestures, facial expression and body language to convey meaning. Sign language is a language in its own right and is typically learned as a first language. For this audience, closed captioning or subtitles do not adequately convey the same depth of information. Signing is used throughout the world for accessibility to media content, primarily because the viewer may lack understanding of the written language used in closed captioning; hence signing, as an access service, fills an important need.

For the visually impaired, it is difficult to follow the action on the screen when there is little dialogue. Audio description provides narration describing the action taking place on-screen to help viewers with visual impairments to follow the plot. This audio description is recorded and made available as a separate audio track that can be selected by the viewer.

New mandates worldwide are continually increasing the amount of content that requires access services to be provided. In addition to closed captioning services, to help content holders meet this need, SDI Media provides the following access services:

• Live closed captioning services
• Offline captioning (Closed Captioning, Hard of Hearing, and SDH)
• Audio description/Descriptive video
• Signing