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Amazon Video Direct (AVD) Requires Closed Captions
Amazon requires closed captions for Amazon Video Direct in an effort to better serve its customers. Amazon believes captions help ensure a consistent viewing experience for all customers, including those who might be hearing-impaired, are non-native English speakers or prefer to view videos without sound.
Approximately 30% of all viewers use closed captions and 80% of those viewers aren’t hearing-impaired. For these reasons, closed captions are becoming a requirement on most professional video streaming sites.
Closed Captions for AVD
Closed captions are timed text that include both spoken dialogue and atmospherics for the deaf and hard of hearing. There are many different types of closed caption file formats that you can choose from when creating your captions files. English captions are required for all titles published in the United States.
Amazon Video prefers formats that support positioning to avoid caption text overlap with other on-screen text. Certain file types, such as .scc and .srt don’t support positioning.
Closed captions for Amazon Video Direct should be in the following formats:
- SMPTE-TT (RP-2052) with an .xml file extensionSTL (Spruce Subtitle File) with a .stl file extension
- EBU-TT with a .xml file extension
- DFXP Full/TTML (Timed Text Markup Language) with a .dfxp file extension
- iTT (iTunes Timed Text) files with a .iTT file extension
- SCC (Scenarist Closed Caption) with a .scc file extension
- SRT (SubRip text file format) with a .srt file extension
Timecodes must be in the format of hh:mm:ss,mmm with a comma between ss and mmm.
Why Require Closed Captions for Amazon Video Direct?
Amazon recognizes that captions are greatly valuable pieces of data that improve the video experience for everyone. Let’s look at why:
- Accessibility: Captions provide equal access and opportunities for individuals with hearing disabilities. All public and private universities are required to caption video content by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II and III.
- Universal Design: Captions contribute to the universal design framework that improves learning outcomes. Research has found that Universal Design strategies improve student learning and engagement while meeting diverse student needs and making education more inclusive and effective.
- Search: Captions, transcripts, and other video metadata allow for topic search within video. Students can navigate to the portion of a video that matters most, improving the efficiency of review and study sessions.
- Second Language Learners: There are 4.5 million public school students in the U.S. whose first language is not English. Captions help non-native speakers fully understand key concepts, especially when dealing with technical subjects.
- Learning Disabilities: Captions provide missing information for learners who have trouble processing auditory or speech components in media. Only 17% of young adults with learning disabilities received accommodations and supports in higher education in 2014.
- Comprehension: Captions allow students to focus better and retain more information. A researcher at San Francisco State University found student performance to improve by 1 full point GPA.
- Literacy: Planet Read research found same-language-subtitling on TV to greatly increase the literacy rate of children in India.
In Media and Enterprise
- Accessibility: Captions provide equal access and opportunities for individuals with hearing disabilities. Private sector and federally funded organizations are required to caption video content by Title I and III of the ADA, Section 508, and/or the CVAA.
- Content Discovery: Captions, transcripts, and other rich metadata enable high-quality search within video, across video libraries, and within search engines for enhanced discovery and engagement.
- SEO: Captions communicate a textual representation of the spoken content in videos to search engines, allowing them to crawl all of your video’s content and subject matter, and index the video accurately.
- Engagement: Captions draw focus and allow viewers to watch videos when they otherwise would not be able to. Video ads on Facebook receive a 12% lift in engagement when captioned.
- Watch Time: Captions increase video viewing by 40%. Viewers are 80% more likely to watch a video to completion when closed captioning and multi-language subtitling are available.
- Reach: Over 360 million Americans have a hearing disability. Over a billion people worldwide speak English as a second or foreign language. On YouTube, 80% of the views come from outside the US. Captions accommodate all of these demographics.
- Social Media: Captions solve the problem of silent auto-play for videos on scrolling news feeds. Captions catch viewer attention and keep it long enough to make an impact. Facebook found that 47% of the value in a video campaign was delivered in the first three seconds, and up to 74% of the value was delivered in the first ten.
What Are the International Captioning Requirements for AVD?
All videos published in the United States must have English captions. If the video’s spoken language is Spanish, Spanish captions can be used instead. All videos published worldwide as Included with Prime must have captions, except in Japan.
How Can I Get Closed Captions for Amazon Video Direct?
Creating closed captions files is a technical process that might be challenging for some content providers. Amazon recommends engaging a 3rd party service to assist in the creation of high-quality captions files.