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Panopto Updates Video Platform; Drops Captioning Pricing

Panopto has updated its video platform and dropped the pricing of its video captioning services. The application, originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University, now has expanded functionality for video management, editing, analytics, quizzing, curation and interactivity.

The company has also put forth a new public standard for consolidating video collections — which it calls "strategic, long-term investments" — into repositories, enabling them to be interoperable across video platforms. The new Universal Content Library Specification (UCLS) is an open, XML-based format for describing sets of videos for the purpose of importing them into a central datastore and streamed securely to any computing device. It builds on the Universal Capture Spec, another Panopto-generated standard, which provides an open format for describing individual media files and their associated metadata.

A university could, for example, import its lecture capture content from various applications, along with other multimedia resources, into a repository. Once they're imported, the videos are then indexed for search and transcoded for playback on any device using the HTTP live streaming protocol. The specification, tools, samples and unit tests for generating or consuming content libraries conforming to the newest standard are being maintained on a GitHub site.

The latest release of the Panopto platform also introduces departmental home pages, which enables individual units to curate their own "YouTube-like" landing pages to highlight specific videos.

In the new version of its flagship program, Panopto has added to the ways users can interact with videos during playback. A threaded discussions feature lets users reply to a video comment and have a threat automatically created; or the comment can be grouped with its replies. Video creators can moderate the discussions and delete those that are off-topic or inappropriate. Also, the program's video quizzes are now supported in the embeddable video player to allow users to take quizzes directly from within the learning management system, content management system or other websites.

The company has also reduced the cost of its video captioning services, which includes a service level agreement guaranteeing turnaround time, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and access to a support team. Customers purchase the captioning services as part of their Panopto contract, with pricing based on turnaround time:

  • For captions requiring 24 hour-processing, Panopto has cut pricing to $2 per recorded minute;
  • For 48 hour-processing, the new price is $1.50 per minute; and
  • For captions with four-day processing, pricing is now $1 per minute.

Panopto also generates editable, automatic, machine-generated transcripts for institutions that use its Smart Search engine as a starting point for creating captions.

The pricing changes apply only to Panopto's own captioning service and not the captioning services provided by companies that are its partners.

"When we first built Panopto at Carnegie Mellon University, our goal was to improve the accessibility of classroom learning," said Eric Burns, co-founder and CEO of Panopto, in a prepared statement. This announcement, he said, "is the next logical step toward that goal, enabling organizations to invest in captioning at scale and providing more people around the world with an accessible video learning experience."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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