Why do younger generations love subtitles?

Netflix and TikTok have helped bring captions to the masses.

Singdhi Sokpo

Audio transcription tools have traditionally served two purposes:

  • Subtitles help viewers understand audio that’s spoken in a foreign language.
  • Closed captions help people with hearing loss understand what’s being said on the screen.

Recently, usage of both tools has skyrocketed among younger demographics, and often not for either of the reasons mentioned, per The Wall Street Journal.

The rise of captions…

… like many things, can be traced back to Netflix and TikTok.

  • Netflix has tried to make its captions more entertaining in recent years, leading to a 2x jump in the number of viewers using them since 2017.
  • TikTok creators have embraced captions as a medium for creativity, and a way to increase the accessibility of their videos.

This has helped make “captions on” the default setting for many young users, who claim there’s another big perk of using the tech — watching videos in public without ticking people off.

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