CVAA Video Accessibility Compliance Requirements in 2020 (+ FREE Checklist)
In 2010, President Obama signed the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. The digital age matured, and accessibility became law.
In 2020, the amount of online video streaming over high-speed networks is unfathomable. Our appetite for internet-delivered video for news, sports, entertainment, and educational content keeps growing.
Video Content is Everywhere, But It’s Not All Accessible to People Who Want It
When the Americans with Disabilities Act became law thirty years ago, the internet was in its infancy. Today, online video is the biggest bandwidth consumer. Demand for video clips and features is at an all-time high.
According to Statista data, there are 232 million digital video consumers in 2020. That’s an increase of about 50 million users over five years.
Those of us with good-to-average vision and hearing ability aren’t the only ones consuming digital content. Individuals with disabilities are as eager as their peers to watch the latest superhero blockbuster. Even the deaf and blind want to feel the power of the bond between The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda.
Meeting CVAA requirements means making digital video accessible to people with vision or hearing loss. That’s not only good for viewership, it’s the law. If your company offers messaging services or video content, it needs to follow the regulations.
What are the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) Standards?
The CVAA is an accessibility mandate from the US Federal Communications Commission, better known as the FCC. The FCC dictates and enforces the rules over internet video programming.
Some viewers consume content on 70-inch 8K Smart TVs, and others on 13-inch smart phone screens. The CVAA requires captions for the hearing-impaired to consume the video on both devices.
Title I of the CVAA covers communications like voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) applications like Skype or XBox Live. It addresses electronic messages including:
- SMS texts
- Faxes and EDI communications
- Video conferencing systems like Bluejeans and Polycom.
Regulations in CVAA Title II make it easier for people with diabilities to consume video programming. Not only on their TV, but via the internet on all their favorite devices.
In short, video programmers and distributors must caption recorded content. CEA-708 user controls must enable users to control caption color, size, and font. The time and human resources required to handle this in-house are considerable.
Which Video Content Needs to Meet CVAA Regulations?
Digital video content in this context includes:
- Premium over-the-top Video on Demand content (Your favorite shows on demand, AKA TVoD)
- Electronic sell-through video downloads (Video Game Downloads on Stream, XBox Live)
- Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) content (Netflix, Disney Plus, AppleTV)
- Content delivered by traditional cable and satellite TV outlets
The CDC’s Center for Health Statistics estimates some 41.3 million adults have hearing trouble, and 32.2 million have impaired vision. Visual and hearing-impaired individuals contribute to digital video user statistics. With our fast-paced news cycles, and content services competing for views, attention is the new currency. You can caption live, nearly-live, or recorded video content.
Advanced communications services which you might not suspect are subject to CVAA compliance requirements. Conversations between players with VoIP headsets in massive multiplayer online role playing games like Fortnite and World of Warcraft are subject to CVAA laws.
Lauren Ridloff is the first deaf actress in the Marvel cinematic universe. She was recently cast as the super-powered speedster Makkari for the Eternals movie. It’s inspiring that deaf Marvel fans can use closed captioning display devices when they cheer her on. Movie theatres must have these devices under the American Disabilities Act Title III.
Video Producers – Comply with the CVAA Without the Heavy Lifting
Taking on the burden of creating your own video captions is a challenge for most film and television producers. By outsourcing this task to a closed captioning service, your business will improve viewer experience. The cost of making captioned content pales in comparison to potential fines or decreased viewership.
These are a few of the risks of not meeting CVAA regulations.
Communication technologies like voice recognition have come a long way. Yet often, a human captioners can best interpret the nuance of language subtleties. An accent or distorted dialogue can be misunderstood by a voice recognition bot. That’s why Rev offers captions done by real people rather than machines.
If you’ve tried telling Siri or Google Maps where you want to go while driving, you’ll understand. Leading captioning and transcription companies like Rev offer a range of services which make use of technology processing power to help human captioners deliver the best product possible.
When needed, human intuition and bias ensures nuance and accuracy. Captions are also great for SEO purposes, because they help Google understand and process your video content.
Subtitles for Foreign Languages
If you have a worldwide audience, a subtitling service is often a great way to get foreign subtitles for English videos. Subtitles are similar to captions, but offer translations to a variety of different languages so that a worldwide audience is able to understand your video content.
Are you looking for a single-language translation or multilingual? A service provider which can ability to transcribe, caption, and subtitle your content? Control your video production costs, meet your timelines and follow the CVAA standards. Contact Rev to get started.
Download Our Free CVAA Video Accessibility Compliance Checklist