For many online video makers, closed captioning are thought of as a legal tick-box exercise, reserved for broadcast and VoD. For others, closed captions may be seen as an add-on service, designed solely for deaf or hard of hearing viewers. Similarly, video transcription services can be overlooked entirely, as being useful only for research and academic purposes. At Capital Captions, we understand the true importance of video transcription, captions and subtitles, and in this blog we’re sharing our knowledge with you on video transcription and closed captioning statistics to maximise your video audience.
Knowing your Video Audience
Thinking about using closed captioning, subtitling or video transcription services to boost your online video audience? If you’re unsure about your target audience, here are some important, and perhaps surprising statistics in terms of UK audiences.
- It’s estimated that there are currently around 65 million people living in the UK today.
- Of this 65 million, up to 78% watch online video on a regular basis (at least once a week). This equates to around 50 million viewers.
Those are pretty astonishing figures, but we know what you’re thinking… Of that 50 million, how many use captions, and could adding captions to your videos help to attract them to your content?
Closed Captioning and Video Transcription Services: Who Uses Them
We’ve considered the population and viewer numbers in the UK, but now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Just how many people use captions, and what are the major driving factors for their use?
In August 2015, Ofcom carried out research that suggested 7.5 million people use closed captioning services in the UK.
Here’s the closed captioning statistics highlighting the audience you could be missing:
- As of 2015, Action on Hearing Loss gathered statistics and estimated there to be around 11 million Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in the UK.
- According to information from the British Deaf Association, there are roughly 150,000 British Sign Language Users in the UK.
- It’s estimated that around 4,000,000 people in the UK Speak English as a Second Language
- In the 2011 census from the Office for National Statistics, there was an estimated 140,000 people living in the UK who Did Not Speak English
- Other Closed Caption Users
Infographic to Illustrate Key Closed Captioning Statistics
Issues with the Data
Whilst the number of subtitle users in the UK is already staggeringly high, the data highlights the numbers of users could substantially increase. However, in order for this to happen, both accessibility and quality of captioning needs to significantly improve.
For instance, the data shows that roughly 11 million people in the UK live with some level of hearing loss. However, only around 1.5 million of those viewers use captions. We can then only assume that the remaining 9.5 million are either ‘making do’ without captions, missing out on full access to video content, or otherwise switching off entirely!
This brings us to a central issue in the collation and analysis of data in terms of closed captioning statistics, and it all comes down to quality.
Online YouTube Closed Captioning Statistics
When searching out a definitive number in terms of viewers who use captions for online video, the first port of call would likely be a site like YouTube. After all, it is the most popular video sharing site in the world. Surely the amount of caption users on YouTube should reflect the total percentage of caption users internationally, right? Wrong.
The issue with collating data for how well utilised subtitles are through YouTube is in the quality. Automatic captions are frequently riddled with errors. In fact, it’s not uncommon for foreign or hard of hearing viewers who rely on captions to actively click away from videos that use them.
Instead, the best way to work out how beneficial captions are for YouTube audiences is to consider whether subtitled videos attract higher viewing figures. Following a study, Tubular Insights reported that YouTube videos with subtitles can gain up to 40% more complete views. We think that says it all!
It’s not just about ‘being seen’ to provide subtitling services for your audience. The quality also needs to be there, in order to make the most of the benefits of online video captioning…
The Many Benefits of Closed Captioning and Video Transcription Services
We hope these UK closed captioning statistics have helped to bring home the importance of professional, high quality captions and subtitles for your video audiences. But just in case we missed something, here’s a rundown on why onscreen text is fantastic for your viewing figures:
- Closed Captioning ensures accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing audiences
- Subtitle and caption translations give accessibility to foreign speakers in the target market
- Translations broaden video reach internationally
- Video transcription of any kind is beneficial to SEO. Captions make text indexable by Google and other search engines
- Viewers retain more information when they receive it through both sight and sound. Just think marketing, advertising and brand awareness!
We hope you enjoyed this article on closed captions and how to maximise your video audience. If you have more questions or would like to enquire about our closed captioning services, let us know and we are happy to help anytime. Alternatively, check out Sound Apex for more information on deafness and sign language
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