Dynamic captions, a unique and innovative functionality of the OTT solution Bee


Would an OTT platform really be successful without subtitling its videos? No. However, technical obstacles remained and prevented audiovisual actors from taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by transcription.

Problem solved: thanks to the ingenuity and creativity of the Alpha Networks teams, the Bee propelled by Kinow solution now includes a dynamic captions feature. Explanations below.

The challenges of video subtitling

Transcription is primarily a legal obligation to make video content accessible to deaf and people with hearing loss. In recent years, this practice has been democratized to become essential today, for several reasons :

Improve the accessibility of videos to all audiences

In France, while 303,000 people are affected by a profound or total hearing loss, more than 5,182,000 people are affected by a hearing disability. Globally, no less than 466 million people suffer from disabling hearing loss. They are not able to distinctly understand the audio content. By offering subtitles, you ensure the distribution of your video to these millions of Internet users.

Distribute a video internationally

4.9 billion. This is the number of people connected in the world. Creating and translating subtitles extends your geographical reach and exposes your videos to 4.9 billion potential Internet users!

The video “Majorité opprimée” illustrates well the scope of subtitles. This short film directed in 2010 by Eléonore Pourriat recorded more than two million views in the 15 days following the posting of the subtitled video. A score well above the 500,000 cumulative views over 4 years for the non-subtitled version...

Adapt video content to new uses

A coworking space, a public place, public transport… So many crowded and noisy places that are difficult to listen to a video. Solution: watch content without sound! On mobile more than on any other device, videos are often watched with the sound muted, by default, by constraint or by choice.

On Facebook, videos automatically start without sound in News Feed. 85% of videos are thus viewed without sound.

A study conducted by Teads, a company specializing in online advertising video, reveals that nearly one in two French people (and even two thirds of 16-24 year olds) appreciate subtitled videos, and even feel frustrated if they can not understand a video without sound. A new growing trend, silent videos have a bright future ahead.

Adding subtitles to your videos will therefore attract the attention of potential viewers, appeal to the target of Millennials and Generation Z, and make your message understood even without sound.

Improve your natural referencing

Search engines like Google are not able to read and understand a video... Unless you add a text transcript. All the terms included in the subtitles then participate in the referencing of the video, and more broadly of the page where the video content is integrated. Subtitles give you more visibility on the web, more traffic, and more income!

Increase your conversion rate

International audiences are on average twice as likely to purchase a video after visiting your VOD site or app when subtitles are available in their language.

If subtitling promises great benefits, in fact, implementing it for worldwide distribution can quickly become complex and costly.

Discouraging costs for international distribution

After having formalized the subtitles file, it remains to edit and embed these subtitles to the video, before transcoding the video. Yes, but… For international distribution, this procedure must necessarily be repeated for each target country. Indeed, depending on the language and the exploitation rights specific to each country, it is a matter of transcoding the video (also involving the transcoding of all the resources associated with the video file), resulting in costs related to the transcoding and storage of all these resources (assets), costs multiplied by the number of countries in which they are broadcast. These costs can therefore slow down or even stop the distribution of video content to new countries.

Accounting issues with Apple Airplay

Subtitles embedded in the video player by the client browser are not supported by Apple Airplay: the Apple protocol requires subtitles embedded in the video manifests at the time of transcoding, or "server-side" captions. This problem, as annoying for end users as it is for broadcasters, unfortunately affects all OTT services.

dynamic captions example

Dynamic captions, an innovative feature of Bee

To overcome these limitations, the Kinow teams have developed a unique feature on the market: dynamic captions.

How do dynamic captions work ?

In summary, this feature consists of inserting subtitles (previously uploaded VTT files) on the fly, into video manifests (URL playlists of assets or files), without having to transcode the video file.

More in detail: this new system makes it possible to modify the manifest files on the fly so as to add the resources corresponding to the incoming request. The subtitles are then loaded dynamically according to the user context (country), without having to transcode video files statically.
It is thus possible to apply geolocation rules in relation to rights holders on the use of subtitles.

The captions are then directly loaded on the fly with AWS Lambda Cloud Functions, which allows execution of serverless code upon an incoming request to the AWS CloudFront CDN.

Thanks to the use of the Amazon CloudFront CDN, the generated manifest files are cached to provide near-instantaneous load time to the end user.

Thus, depending on the client's geographical location and DRM requirements, captions are automatically integrated into the output HLS/Dash manifests, allowing subtitles to be supported on any type of device and broadcast protocol, such as Apple Airplay.

The benefits of dynamic captions

Dynamic captions allow you to :

  • Read subtitles on all devices and media such as Apple Airplay,
  • Facilitate the video assets management,
  • Save on transcoding and asset storage costs for any international distribution.

Transcoding and storage costs remain in fact unchanged, regardless of the number of countries targeted. It is now enough to pay the exploitation rights of the country of origin to be able to distribute a video on a global scale.

How to benefit from this new feature ?

This functionality, unique on the market, has been available since the start of the school year for all customers of the OTT Bee solution propelled by Kinow!

Simply translate your subtitles, apply geolocation rules if necessary according to exploitation rights, and distribute your VOD catalog in the desired countries now !

Note: all features already in place for client-side subtitles are de facto compatible with this new dynamic caption system.
No change is visible for the end user, the user experience remaining at the heart of the concerns of the Kinow teams.

Things to remember about dynamic captions

Accessibility, international reach, referencing, transformation... A real challenge for video producers and broadcasters, subtitling makes it possible to reach and attract a wider audience.

The Kinow teams have lifted the technical and financial constraints linked to captions, in order to be able to reach this audience at a lower cost. With the OTT Bee propelled by Kinow solution, the world is now at your fingertips.