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October 11, 2003

AOL adds closed captioning for Web video

From: Seattle Post Intelligencer, WA - Oct 11, 2003


NEW YORK -- America Online is adding closed captioning to a limited number of its online video feeds.

Tom Wlodkowski, director of accessibility at AOL, likens the efforts to the early days of closed captioning on TV in the 1970s, when only a handful of shows offered it. Today, major networks regularly offer programming with closed captioning.

Though the main impetus is serving hearing-impaired Internet users, Wlodkowski said, other users should benefit as well. Internet users at work can hit the "mute" button and still follow video, and eventually they will be able to use it to search for text in video, he said.

AOL is initially offering closed captioning with a tutorial and a kids' cartoon series called "Princess Natasha." Later this fall, it will offer it on three of the dozen or so hourly news feeds that CNN produces for AOL each day.

Jim House, a spokesman with the nonprofit Telecommunications for the Deaf Inc., said he wants to ultimately see everything accessible "so we have choices - just like on TV."

"Major networks caption their newscasts on television, (so) why not on the Internet as well?" House, who is deaf, said via instant messaging.

-Anick Jesdanun, AP Internet Writer.

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