Study suggests younger viewers prefer subtitles for TV

Young people have ‘far more acceptance of subtitles’ when compared with older people, a new Stagetext survey shows.

According to the survey, 80% of young people between 18 – 24 were found to be using subtitles some or part of the time of any devices.

The study shows that this is a huge difference between the older generation, who despite being twice as likely to say they are deaf or hard of hearing, only 23% use subtitles in the 56-75 age group category.

As quoted by BBC News, Stagetext’s chief executive Melanie Sharpe commented: ‘I think there’s far more acceptance of subtitles by young people because it’s the norm, whereas, with an older age group, it isn’t necessarily the norm.’

Melanie goes on to comment that older people sometimes see subtitles as requiring extra concentration levels, whereas for younger viewers subtitles help keep their attention when competing for technology starts to battle for their brainpower.

black flat screen tv turned on showing game

Melanie added: ‘I think young people can take in far more information quickly because they’re used to it.’

Subtitles have also become increasingly popular with social media users, whilst foreign language shows gaining popularity on streaming platforms is also increasing the frequency of subtitle use.

Stagetext’s study also suggested that live events and shows would be improved by captioning, with 31% of people more likely to attend live events and shows if captions were provided on a screen at venues. However, this figure also changed with age, with 16% for over-56s, compared to 45% for 18-25’s – with young people more likely to say captions helped them with an online event during locked, rather than taking away from the experience.

Melanie said: ‘When Stagetext started, it was very much about putting the text on the side of the stage so somebody could read it at the same as a person hearing it.’

Young directors and designers are making captions ‘an integral part of the artistic vision of a piece’, and ensuring that building them into the sets becomes ‘the norm’

Stagetext is a deaf led charity and is currently participating in Captioning Awareness Week.


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