AOL announced Thursday that it is testing closed-captioning for the deaf and hearing-impaired on its online video content, starting with streaming video content from CNN. The captioned video will be available through both AOL's paid service and the free AOL.com portal, and will feature a range of CNN content, from breaking news to entertainment. To activate the closed-captioning, according to AOL, users will simply click on a "CC" button displayed on its media player. AOL said it hopes to introduce captioning for more of its video content over the coming months.
Until now, the only closed-captioning on AOL video content has been on the child-oriented KOL service, which has featured the option since 2003. The video is made available as part of a partnership between AOL and WGBH's Media Access group. WGBH, a Boston-based public broadcast company, invented TV captioning in the early 1970s. WGBH is supported by a grant from the NEC Foundation of America, which specializes in technology that aids people with disabilities. In 2004, AOL made another outreach to the hard-of-hearing when it to allow phone calls through its AOL Instant Messenger service.