Open Caption Information Sheet

Information, Statistics, Pricing

Open captioning is a text display of words and sounds heard during an event.  The display is positioned in such a way that it is open for anyone to see in a particular seating area.  It is considered passive assistance, a service that is there to use or ignore.  No one is labeled as needing the captioning with special equipment required at his/her seat.  

Open captioning is a service provided for people with hearing disabilities who use assistive listening devices, hearing aids, cochlear implants, sign language and lip reading.  About 10-15% of the population is hard of hearing or deaf.  Based on statistics from the 2016 United States Bureau of the Census American Community Survey, there are an estimated 176,000-183,000 people with hearing loss living in New York City.  If roughly 3% of these individuals attend arts events, that translates into 5,280-5,500 potential audience members for captioning.  Using the same comparisons, approximately 465,000-476,000 people with hearing loss live in the Metropolitan Area.  If 3% of these individuals were to attend arts events, that would mean about 13,950-14,280 potential audience members for captioning.  Within the next 10 years, it is estimated that one out of every five Americans will be 65 and older, and 25% of them will have some level of hearing loss.  There is an enormous market for open captioning, and audiences for the service continue to grow. 


Service Providers:  The perception in some accessibility awareness circles is that the technical equipment needed to provide captioning is the difficult part, and the skill level required from the captioner is the easy component.  The exact opposite is true.  If your venue has never provided captioning before, we strongly recommend that you begin by hiring an experienced caption operator, who brings his or her own captioning equipment.   

c2 (Caption Coalition) Inc., is a consultant and service provider of both theatrical captioning and CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) captioning in the live arena for people who are hard of hearing and deaf.  To date, c2 members are collectively responsible for captioning over 800 theatrical productions in more than 180 venues.  Furthermore, c2 also provides CART captioning of various lecture series in the arts. 

Tel: 917.733.3515

Another option includes contacting the National Court Reporters Association to locate experienced arts events captioners and certified CART operators. 
Tel: 800.272.6272

If you have a trained caption operator you would like to use but need a board, you may rent your own LED display through Electronic Signs, Ltd.
Tel: 800.341.6397 ext. 103 for Brian Giunta

For advice on how to provide in-house, open-captioned films using a video projector to superimpose text on a film image, please contact Steve Fentress, Director of the Strasenburgh Planetarium at the Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC).
Tel: 585.271.4552 ext. 409

For provision of broadcast captioning, please contact Jim Powell, CEO of Pillar To Post.  Pillar To Post is a private, Virginia-based company that provides a variety of services, including consultation regarding technical specifications, additional federal grant resources through the Department of Education for closed captioning (broadcast), color correction, caption encoding, as well as other post production needs to serve independent producers with the goal of broadcasting in public television venues.  Credits include projects for PBS, WNET and ITVS, with an average of over 1,000 productions a year for public broadcasting.
Tel: 703.750.6783

Accessible Venue:  Provision of an assistive listening system is optimal, if possible, in conjunction with open captioning to enhance a person's ability to enjoy an event.  Levels of hearing loss vary from mild to severe, and any opportunity to take in sound is important.  Publicize a reservation number for assistive listening units to make sure you will have enough on hand.  If possible, tickets should be available for purchase online, and your box office should have a TTY (text telephone) number available for information and ticket reservations. Also, familiarize your staff with receiving relay calls through a telephone operator.


Captioner for one performance (script formatting, previewing, synchronized text scrolling, with display): $1,500     

Captioner for second performance of the same production: $500-$1,000 

Realtime captioner for verbatim lecture: two-hour minimum @ $135-$170 an hour

CART - Communication Access Realtime Translation, with display: $300-$500                         
Data entry person (for technical terms used in realtime lecture) @ $50 an hour (CART): $50-$100