AI-powered subtitling gives new meaning to “headline news”

By Tom DiNome

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There are few markets as dynamic as content delivery, especially in the media and entertainment industry. The global demand for high-quality, diverse content is rapidly increasing. Broadcasters are constantly seeking innovative methods to attract, maintain, and connect with ever-changing audience demographics, who now demand more immersive and sophisticated storytelling in their viewing experiences.

To meet viewers’ heightened expectations, the “Next Big Trend” in broadcasting is emerging as IP content delivery and AI-based subtitling come together to redefine the industry once again.

Industry reports project continued growth in this space. According to Valuates Reports, the global captioning and subtitling solution market will average an annual growth rate of 7.7%, reaching $476.9 Million (USD) by 2028.

Acknowledging this trend, XL8 has recently partnered with Zixi to integrate its LiveSubs AI-powered translation engine with Zixi’s IP streaming technologies, enabling real-time subtitles to be generated “on the fly” from source languages to more than 70 global language pairs, to support live events.

The changing face of broadcast

Broadcasts for major sports or entertainment events were, until very recently, exclusively the domain of fixed line connectivity and expensive and logistically challenging on-site production technology. Today, “broadcasting” has emerged into new territory.

It’s now common to see hybrid content delivery options –— mixing subsea fiber, satellite, over the Internet or a combination of each. The internet, for example, has emerged as a reliable and cost-effective option — especially for broadcast events that don’t always justify the costs of traditional production and dedicated connectivity.

The public internet offers an accessible and cost-effective platform for delivering popular programming and promoting less-known events of any size to a wider audience. The technology powering this process, particularly IP video streaming, has significantly improved in terms of reliability and security, matching the standards of traditional broadcast television.

This rise in technology development and quality of service coincides with heightened audience expectations, which have risen from accepting “good enough” quality to now demanding the highest quality. Video delivery solutions must be reliable enough to reach their intended destinations and meet the expectations of all parties. Low latency, reliability, and security will only help to legitimize online content delivery and provide the stable infrastructure and bandwidth required for broadcast-quality video feeds.

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It’s no different with subtitling…

As online viewing continues to connect people across the globe, language barriers pose a significant challenge, as an increasing number of viewers worldwide demand content to be localized not just for their country, but also for their region.

The XL8 and Zixi integration has the potential to reimagine the worlds of live sports and news, enabling content owners to expand their reach to wider audiences and beyond their physical audience demographics. For example, football (not the American kind) is popular worldwide, except in North America. This integration could change that by bringing the sport to more viewers and giving them easy access to matches broadcast in their language of choice. The same holds true for other traditionally “lower-tier” sports that, while also popular, often don’t draw the type of crowds or sponsorships to warrant the expense of localizing the content.

The integration of XL8’s AI-powered machine translation and LiveSubs technology with Zixi means subtitles for broadcasts and live streams can be created and ingested in real-time with no additional conversion points required. That’s a critical factor for achieving the latency needed if online viewing ever hopes to rival broadcast as a mainstream platform for large global audiences. The integration also provides a low-cost method of exploring the viability of entering new content markets.

Keeping pace with the trend in IP-based video delivery is AI-powered machine translation for maintaining the highest level of subtitling accuracy possible. XL8’s LiveSubs engine will keep pace and draw in viewers for broadcasters from around the world.

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