Free Live, Automated Captions

Open.Media now to provide free, live automated captions through YouTube

When the Open Media Foundation embarked on our Open.Media project, we saw governments across the country spending huge amounts of money on video streaming and archiving services that were in many ways inferior to YouTube’s free livestreaming service. We built the Open.Media software around YouTube’s APIs, which enabled us to offer the most affordable video transparency service on the market, while also providing features, accessibility, and compatibility that none of our proprietary, commercial competitors could match.

Over and over again, we’ve seen YouTube’s features and quality far surpass any of the more expensive options on the market, while still remaining free. YouTube was the first to allow streaming in HD. They were the first to offer free automated transcriptions, the first to enable 4K streaming, and now, their biggest announcement: YouTube will offer free, automated live captions.

When professionally provided captions aren’t available, our new live automatic captions provide creators a quick and inexpensive way to make live streams accessible to more people.
— Kurt Wilms, YouTube Live Video Product Lead

For those of our clients who stream to the web and don’t broadcast live on TV, this feature will help bring them into compliance with FCC, DOJ, and ADA rules and regulations. Clients broadcasting on TV will still need a service designed for TV Captions, and we’re currently testing the newest, most innovative solutions on the market, at a tiny fraction of the cost of manual captioning.

Some clients are experimenting with running burnt-in captions (like those generated by YouTube) through their TV Broadcasts, like the innovators at Thornton, CO.

Traditionally, automated captions have lacked the level of accuracy required for ADA compliance. However, this technology is getting more advanced every day, and already YouTube says their error rates are approaching industry standards for manual captions. Whereas caption services often cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, YouTube’s service will be free of charge.

Kaye Wattawa