Making the world’s content accessible to everyone
At Ai-Media, we’re building the platforms that connect publishers with captioners to make every piece of content accessible to the world. Launched in 2003, we’ve expanded our services across the globe. Millions of people rely on our services every day to watch TV, browse social media and gain access to education.
How it all started
Alex Jones, co-founder of Ai-Media, had a keener interest than most in creating access for people with disabilities. Alex was born deaf and grew up not having the same level of access as his hearing friends.
Then Alex met Tony, another keen advocate for people with disabilities. Tony, having returned from a Rhodes Scholarship in Oxford, was looking to make a meaningful impact in the world. So together they started Ai-Media – a company devoted to improving the quality of life for people with disability using technology and social innovation.
2003 Access on Pay TV
Deaf people in Australia could watch high-quality captioned TV on five free-to-air channels, but in 2003 the costs of captioning were too high for the emerging Pay TV industry with many more channels, and smaller audience shares, but facing the same costs for an hour of captioning.
Together with industry leaders, Alex and Tony engaged community groups in Australia to ask whether they wanted to maintain the consistency of captioning style then prevailing in Australia or whether they were happy with “American-style” captioning on more content. Of 1,026 responses, 100% said “more content please”.
By 2004, Ai-Media worked to drastically cut the costs of captioning, principally by repurposing captions that had been shown on overseas networks for the same program. Large scale captioning began on Foxtel – and has now grown to cover over 300,000 hours a year of content.