Why Closed Captions are Absolutely Essential for Your Video Content

Think closed captioning is only for the deaf?  Think again. A study conducted in the U.K. and reported by the BBC found that 80 percent of people who used closed captions have no hearing loss at all.   

So why use it? Imagine viewing conditions at the extreme ends of the volume spectrum: a silent waiting room at a doctor’s office; a loud bar; a lounge with multiple sets screening different channels at the same time. In those environments, if you don’t have closed captioning, you might as well not provide the video—consumers either can’t hear it, or don’t want to. 

This is an age when consumers expect more — more information, more options, more amenities, and video content is no exception. If consumers find themselves in a situation where they can’t easily hear the audio, most won’t strain to catch the gist — they’ll watch something else.

The Importance of Closed Captioning in the Digital Market

Content providers for YouTube are well aware of how hard it is to get attention in a market where millions of new videos are posted daily. Closed captions offer that edge. If you are selling a product, that first line of your ad, silently read by a viewer with the sound off, might provide just enough “hook” for the consumer to hang on past the “skip ad” option. If you are producing creative content, you are competing with shorter attention spans and split-second decisions to move on and keep surfing. If someone is searching for a specific line in a webisode or a TV show, for example, to show their friend, captions make that moment easier to find.

English is the world’s dominant second language, but we tend not to realize how many non-native speakers read it much better than they understand it spoken. Often it makes the difference between understanding half of what’s being said on screen, and understanding nearly all of it by being able to read along. This builds page views enormously over time, as viewers patronize channels with content they know they understand consistently. It’s also a great English learning tool – another source of repeat viewing.

As online video content becomes increasingly global, it naturally stretches into areas and markets where English proficiency is fairly low. Your willingness to caption in the local language makes it much easier to connect with a far greater number of viewers. This has become well-recognized with the Spanish-speaking market. But smaller markets like France or Germany also have sophisticated consumers with a desire to watch American content in the original language without sacrificing comprehension. 

Investing in Closed Captions Pays Off

A relatively modest investment in subtitling can have a huge payoff: Think of the tourists who book a higher-end hotel because the sense of welcome started with the very first ad they saw. It’s a concept that transcends language and industry. Movies with subtitled trailers do much better as well — because their producers understood that after so much investment in the film, it’s only logical to invest in its accessible promotion.  

With over 50 years of experience providing closed captioning, subtitles, and video localization services, CMI can help you enhance your video content to be enjoyed anytime, anywhere, by audiences around the world. 

Give us a call today to learn more.  

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