72% of people in the UK think all adverts should be subtitled

Younger people more likely to use and engage with subtitled ads

72% of adults in the UK think companies and organisations should subtitle all their adverts, according to new consumer research. 

Subtext Digital

The research was commissioned by subtitling company SubText Digital, which launches today 18 March. It looked at how people of all age groups use subtitles and highlighted a variety of reasons why people choose subtitling. Unsurprisingly, accessibility due to deafness or hearing loss is a key reason, but others use subtitles to help understand accents, decipher mumbling or to prevent disturbing sleeping household members or neighbours. Interestingly, younger people are much more likely to use subtitles regularly, with 62% of 18-24 year olds using subtitles at least two times per week, compared to only 23% in the 55+ category. Nearly half of 18-24 year olds use subtitling all the time, as opposed to only one in ten 55+ year olds. 

The trend towards increased usage in younger age groups is coupled with views about how brands make themselves more accessible and attractive by subtitling their content. The research found that 64% of all age groups view a brand that uses subtitles as more socially responsible then those that don’t. Over half of 18-24 year olds said they would be more likely to buy from, or engage with a brand that subtitles ads. The same amount said they would be more likely to donate to a charity that makes subtitling available on their ads. 

This view is echoed by Deaf comedian Steve Day, who said: 

“I have a long-standing policy of favouring companies that bother to subtitle adverts. If they don’t bother, then I simply assume that they don’t want my custom. My policy means that I sometimes pay a bit more for things, but I don’t care.” 

It is estimated that only around 40% of adverts currently have subtitles, meaning that around 60% could be missing engagement with key broadcast audiences.  

Chris Parsons, Chief Executive of SubText Digital, said: 

“Subtitling adverts is an easy way for brands to take steps to becoming more accessible to large groups of consumers. SubText Digital is committed to democratising the subtitling market and thereby opening up subtitling options to more brands and especially charities, so they better communicate with their audience. Subtitling shouldn’t need to be an expensive exercise, as it has sometimes been historically, and we’re keen to make sure that price isn’t a barrier for smaller companies and organisations.” 

Although the 2003 Communications Act and the Digital Economy Act 2017 requires broadcasters to subtitle both linear and on-demand TV programmes, there is currently no legislation covering accessibility in advertising. It is the responsibility of brands to ensure that their adverts have subtitles.

SubText Digital launches with the announcement that it has won UK TV shopping brand JML as a client. 

Chris Scally, Head of Broadcast, at JML said:

 “JML’s philosophy is ‘making everyday easier’ for everyone and therefore, we want to lead the way by driving inclusivity, opening up our advertising to as many audiences as we can through subtitling. We are pleased to be able to partner with SubText Digital to offer this.”

Source: SubText Digital

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