Writing in AXIOS, April Rubin reports on the growing preference for including subtitles in media. Influenced by their experience with TikTok, young media consumers have come to expect subtitles as a way to enhance their attention and further their understanding of what they are watching. 52% of millennials and 59% of Gen Z survey respondents reported that they regularly use subtitles. Gen Z males in particular rely on subtitles with 61% reporting that they like to use them.
There are several reasons for using subtitles. They allow viewers two opportunities to understand content, and the text can be a useful addition when the sound quality is not clear. Subtitles are also used when viewing content in a different language as media consumers extend their viewing habits to include more global content. Individuals with audio processing challenges also find them helpful.
There has been growing interest and investment in automated captioning tools that allow subtitles to be added to media and progress in this area will make subtitles more accurate and more valuable. Of course the question for those concerned with learning, particularly online learning, where media play an increasing role, is how to add subtitles in a way that enhances the learning/viewing experience without adding unnecessary distraction.