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Flawless Captioning Service Brings Obama Victory and Speech to Deaf and Hard-Of-Hearing Viewers

9,000 minutes of national and local election coverage with 99.99%

captioning uptime

CANONSBURG, Pa., Nov. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Election night in America. Millions of Americans eagerly watched news reports, exit polls, and election results for hundreds of national, state and local races. On eight major national networks, including 3 all-news networks and local stations across the country, VITAC realtime captioners provided English and Spanish access for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers well into the early morning hours of November 5th.

Simultaneous captioning of the historic event required 92 captioners and the ability to feed over 600 different data connections throughout the period. VITAC's IT and engineering support ensured that these connections were made and sustained without error. Captioning uptime, defined as the percentage of programming with complete captions, was at 100% for VITAC until just after 2AM, when a temporary signal conflict lost the first and only minute of captioning, bringing uptime for election coverage to 99.99% of 8,985 minutes.

"At times like this I am most proud of our company," said Patricia A. Prozzi, President of VITAC. "It is important that we are consistent and reliable so that no information is lost for our viewers. Providing nearly flawless service isn't easy to accomplish, but then again neither is winning the presidency."

71 million viewers watched Barack Obama's historic win of the US Presidency. Over 7 million of those viewers, or 10% of the US population, are deaf or hard of hearing, and benefit from captioning. VITAC's captions were also seen by hundreds of thousands in Times Square and in restaurants, bars and other noisy venues where people gathered for election returns.

Captions for live events, created by specially trained stenographers, are "written" on a steno machine, translated by a computer, and instantaneously translated into words through special software using dictionaries developed, updated and maintained by the individual captioner. This translated text is transmitted to networks, where words appear as captions within seconds of being spoken.


VITAC Corporation, a Merrill Communications Company, is the nation's leading provider of closed captioning and other accessible media services, with offices in Los Angeles, CA, Washington, DC, and headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA. VITAC provides closed captioning for broadcast networks, cable TV, home video / DVD, teleconferences and Internet programs worldwide. Among the company's largest clients are ABC, BBC America, BET, BET J, CBS, CBS Studios, CNBC, CNN, Headline News, C-SPAN, Discovery Networks, FOX, FSN, FSN Regional Networks, Fox Television Studios, Mark Burnett Productions, MSNBC, MTV Networks, NBC, Sony Pictures Entertainment, truTV, Turner Broadcasting, Warner Bros. Television and local stations across the country.

Merrill Corporation, founded in 1968 and headquartered in St. Paul, MN, is a leading provider of outsourcing solutions for complex business communication and information management.

Contact: Heather York


SOURCE VITAC Corporation
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