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Captioning for Online Streaming: Why It's Essential for Inclusivity in Entertainment

Captioning for Online Streaming

Streaming content is the current "in" thing. Many people spend hours daily on platforms such as Netflix, YouTube, and Apple TV+. Almost four out of five households in the US subscribe to at least a single streaming service. The industry brought in over $72 billion in 2021, with projections showing a rise to $115 billion by 2026.

Who Streams Content Online?

Streaming isn't just popular with millennials. Even the older generation is joining the action, despite being more wary of technology compared to other groups. Children are growing up with streaming content, too. In many homes throughout the country, people are cutting off the cord, replacing conventional cable TV packages with cheaper, more enticing subscriptions.

With internet connectivity improving by the day, more and more people are choosing Netflix over Comcast. The former company's growth has been exponential since its inception, resulting in competition rising drastically in the field.

Is Streaming All About Inclusivity?

What does inclusivity mean to you? Is it about seeing people who represent your community on TV shows and movies? Or is it your priority to see content that resonates with current events that are the main discussion topics at family gatherings?

Now, there's probably another aspect of inclusivity you haven't thought about, and that relates to language. Have you ever thought about whether streaming channels emphasize viewers of various ethnicities? Perhaps English is not their first language.

Today, more than ever before, we live in a truly global society. Even a little town in the Midwest has the image of a melting pot when compared to a few decades past. Your neighbor might be Latinx, White, African, or Asian. They may be deaf or hard of hearing or bear another disability. Are YouTube, Netflix, and other companies ensuring that they include everyone when they plan their programming and platform interfaces?

How Captioning Drives Inclusivity

Captions serve so many purposes. However, a significant benefit is inclusivity. Let's delve into this point.

  • Better Accessibility

    As mentioned above, people who stream content don't come from a single subset. They can be young or old, or may suffer from hearing loss. Everyone deserves a chance to enjoy a show without limitations. And since most shows contain dialogue and audio cues, captioning is the best way to create a more inclusive platform.

    With captions, people won't miss out on crucial scenes and their significance. Even a pin drop bears a mention if it drives the storyline. With captioning comes comprehension, and the more people understand the message, the farther it will spread.

  • A Broader Audience Reach

    Creators shouldn't craft their content for a single group of people if they genuinely want it to shine. Even niche topics like true crime or sports can reach the masses if producers play their cards right. One way to make that happen is with accurate captions.

    Let's say someone is streaming a show on life at the Mexican border, and much of the dialogue entails interviews with people in the region. Can you imagine how many people wouldn't be able to absorb the show's meaning without captions? Furthermore, captions are the pillar of subtitles. With accurately translated text, billions of people will be able to watch and enjoy shows.

  • The Freedom to Watch From Anywhere

    People lead busy lives. They're constantly on the go, whether commuting, traveling, or working out on the treadmill. Everyone chases entertainment all the time now. You'll never fail to see someone on the bus watching a clip on YouTube. Likewise, you often see fitness freaks enjoying a movie while on the elliptical.

All of the above is to say that people no longer limit where they watch content. They don't wait until they're on their couch or in bed. Today's audience consumes video content in noisy environments or places where they can't turn up the volume.

Does that mean they can't stream videos and understand them? No! Thanks to captions, they know what's going on in a clip and can nod their heads in agreement, laugh along at jokes, or shed a tear at heart-wrenching moments.

Captioning for Online Streaming

Streaming Content Requires Captions: Other Reasons

Improved inclusivity should be enough reason for captions. After all, the more people manage to enjoy content, the better. However, there are more reasons for captioning.

  • Regulatory Compliance

    The government has imposed regulations to protect the rights of people with disabilities. One of them is Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In this revision, federal agencies, contractors, and employers must supply captions on all videos and multimedia content. Under Section 504 of the same act, non-federal website creators must ensure their content is accessible to all, regardless of their physical abilities.
  • Lawsuit Avoidance

    If a company provides streaming content, it has to comply with existing laws regarding access. Otherwise, it will be at risk of website accessibility lawsuits. Even educational institutions must ensure their online content contains captions before presenting it to the public.

Make Captioning Your Priority

Are you a content creator? Or are you trying to figure out how to make your TV show more accessible to millions (or even billions) of viewers? Prioritize captions, and you'll go far. Get more information from the best providers in the field today.

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