Lawsuit against CNN brings captions into the spotlight

Disabilities rights advocates sued CNN this week in an attempt to force the network to caption all of its online videos. The lawsuit brings closed captions back into the spotlight and could, if successful, have implications on pretty much any site offering online video in California.

New Bill to Mandate Captions for Web TV

A new bill could force CBS.com, NBC.com and others to add closed captions to all TV content streamed online. Smaller publishers are exempt for now. Still, adding closed captions to your video will make hearing impaired viewers, office workers and even the Google Bot happy.

PLYmedia to Provide Live Captions to Online Vid Partners

For once, everyone getting on board with an online video trend is a good thing. Following on the heels of Google’s (s GOOG) announcement yesterday that it will add automatic captioning to YouTube videos, PLYmedia today said that it will be providing live captioning to video platforms Ooyala, Ustream, Livestream, Brightcove, Kaltura, KIT digital and Kyte.

Unlike Google’s captioning system, which automatically creates captions using speech recognition technology, PLYmedia’s SubPLY offering does live captioning with national court reporter-certified transcribers. Using this human approach, PLYmedia says it can deliver more accurate results (Google even admitted that its system can make mistakes and is rolling the service out slowly.)

PLYmedia’s SubPLY also offers automatic translation into “multiple” languages, transcript generation, real-time keyword tag generation as well as Twitter and Facebook integration. The social media hooks allow Twitter and Facebook users to follow a live event through text updates to their news feeds.

In addition to making live video more accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing, the addition of captions will help make video more searchable.

Vid-Biz: Kaltura, Cable Rates, Kevin James

Kaltura Partners with PLYmedia; white-label video provider and ad platform combiming technologies to allow interactive layers of information on top of videos. (release)

FCC Says Cable Rates Up 122 Percent Since 1995; results of commission’s study looked at basic and expanded basic packages, also finds prices are lower when a second wireline cable operator enters a market. (Multichannel News)

Kevin James (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) to Create Web Series for Crackle; web series Dusty Peacock is about an illusionist who stunts fail, Gary Valentine to star in it. (Variety)

Stickam Live-Streaming NATPE; company will provide all the keynotes as well as panel discussions from the TV biz conference. (release)

NBC Average 8.3 Million Uniques in 2008; network says that’s a jump of 34 percent over 2007 and that full-episode viewership online grew 25 percent over the previous year. (MediaPost)

Inauguration Video on Xbox; MSNBC had video of the event up at the Xbox Marketplace within hours after it finished. (Business of Online Video)

EQAL and Argora to Create New lonelygirl15 Offshoot; web series n1ckola will have 100 episodes and will launch on Jan. 26. (socalTECH)

Overlay.tv Gets Another $4.6 Million

Overlay.tv, a company that layers additional information like graphics, ads and links over video, announced today that it secured $4.6 million in its second round of funding.

The company says the money will be used to continue its UGC efforts and expand into more premium content and brand partnerships, which is a slight shift in strategy from when it went beta back in February. Back then, the company was focused on user-generated advertising, encouraging people to make videos into clickable ads and share in the revenue they generated. Since Overlay’s official launch in September, the company has formed partnerships with Nettwerk Music Group, Hollywood Records, KidzBop and Transcontinental Media.

Competition to junk up better monetize video streams with overlay ads is heating up. In addition to the existing competition like PLYMedia and TicTacTi, newcomers like Keystream and ZunaVision have entered the space in recent months.

The new round of funding mirrors the $4.6 million the Ottowa-based Overlay received in January of this year with existing investors Celtic House Venture Partners, Tech Capital Partners and EdgeStone Capital Partners re-upping.