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RE: The Commercialization of Web Accessibility


From: Ricci, Mark
Date: Dec 18, 2001 4:57PM

I found Kynn's email very interesting. I forwarded it on to the person in
charge of Business Development to get his take on the discussion. He asked
me to submit his thoughts on the subject. His contact info is available at
the bottom of the email.

Here goes:

I wish to respond to Kynn Bartlett's email regarding "The Commercialization
of Web Accessibility". In doing this, it is hard not to sound like a paid
advertisement, only fueling the entire debate, but here goes...

VITAC is a division of my company and started off in the Closed-Captioning
business on broadcast television. VITAC stands for VITal ACcess. VITAC is
a for profit company, and got its start when there were no FCC requirements
for captioning. When one had to knock on doors and explain to ABC, CBS and
NBC why they should be spending money to do this when they weren't forced
to. Not an easy sell, right?

Well, now we have requirements for captioning, with step-ups for compliance
every year. Next year the Big3 (plus FOX, UPN, WB, ESPN, CNN, etc.)
networks will be required to provide captioning for a minimum of 9 hours a
day. The requirements don't speak to quality, just that you need them.
VITAC pushes quality because of its importance to the 25 million people out
there that count on the captions for information, entertainment and a
connection to the world. Did I mention that we are also a for profit

508 truly creates new opportunities, and yes, has limitations. But the
bottom line is the information will be accessible as it was intended... to
all. We are now performing LIVE Internet captioning, receiving tremendous
feed-back. A by-product of this new accessibility on the internet is a new
opportunity to aid in the linking of speech with the text. We can have
created a text-based search that will bring you to the audio/video
information you need. We are doing that now. Everyone benefits for this
type of accessibility.

Thank you for your time.

Larry Schwartz

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