Captions are required for any content that's aired on TV before. The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) makes this a requirement for any online video that's previously appeared on TV. You'll notice that your favorite streaming sites, like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and others all provide captioning for their content. Look around a bit more, and you'll see that these sites often caption all their content even if it's not required. That's because there are additional benefits to video captioning beyond just meeting legal requirements.
Statistics That Will Make You Want to Caption Your Content
If you want to reach viewers, captions rule. In fact, Digiday said "85% of Facebook video is watched without sound." If there's a message you're trying to convey that requires more than images, captions are what will make this possible.
Verizon Media has a similar statistic - they say "69% view video with sound off in public places and 25% watch with sound off on private places." And that's not all. According to the same study done by Verizon Media, 80% of consumers are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available and 50% of consumers say captions are important because they watch video with the sound off.
So while your video or live stream may not end up on TV and require captioning, including captions increases your chance of reaching viewers. What makes no sound so important to viewers? Well as it turns out, there's a few common reasons they might need or prefer captions.
Watch Without Sound
Captions help the deaf watch video content that might not have been accessible to them otherwise. However, captions can do more than that. For people that hear, they may find themselves in a situation where they want to watch a show, but they don't have a way to control the sound with headphones or similar. In a situation like this, turning the sound off and reading captions can still allow them to watch their shows. Even if they can control sound with headphones, they may be in too noisy a situation, or a situation where they need to listen for certain cues - like somebody waiting for their flight in an airport.
If you include a transcript of your video with your video description, search engines will crawl it. This can result in a better SEO rank than just posting the video alone. If you've posted a class of some kind, including the transcript can help people search for the part of the video they wanted. There are even some tools out there that will highlight the chunk of the transcript that matches what's being said in the video. Viewers can click around on the transcript to move the position in the video forward or backward. A great example of this can be seen on Coursera classes.
Increase Audience Comprehension
Captions help people more fully understand what's happening in a video. It can help someone taking an online class retain information or it can help someone better follow the plot of their favorite show. When it comes to entertainment like movies or television, captions can make viewers more aware of the music selected for a scene by including the sung lyrics. Frequently show creators choose music to underline a key theme or plot point. Seeing the lyrics can help make viewers more aware of the subtleties of what they're watching.
Draw Viewers Who Speak Other Languages
Subtitles are a type of caption, and when you include them you make your content more globally accessible. You can more easily reach viewers in their native language, and subtitles help you achieve that affordably. Completely dubbing content into another language requires voice actors and careful automated dialogue replacement (ADR). Adding captions makes your video accessible without all of this effort - you only need a good written translation instead.
Add Captions to Your Content Today
api.video allows you to caption all your video content using our Captions endpoint. Create a Web Video Text Tracks (WebVTT) file by hand or with an online tool to get started. Then upload it for your video and voila! your video content can start reaping the benefits of captions today.