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Insight of the Day: Young Americans Love Using Subtitles for Movies, TV

Key Points:

- Subtitle Usage Among Young Americans: Younger generations, specifically Millennials and Gen Z under age 35, show a significant preference for using subtitles or closed captions while watching English-language TV shows and movies. Even when the audio is in English, a majority of young adults use subtitles, suggesting a cultural shift in viewing habits.

- Data Insights: According to a survey by CivicScience of 1,774 English-speaking U.S. adults, 56% of respondents under 35 use subtitles or captions 'always' or 'usually', compared to only 21% who 'never' use them. In contrast, only 20% of respondents over 55 typically watch English-language programming with subtitles.

- Possible Influences: Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram may be contributing to the rising trend of subtitle usage among young adults. Platforms such as TikTok feature auto-captions for short-form videos, which could be familiarizing users with reading text while watching video content.

- Preference for Subtitles Over Overdubs: When it comes to foreign-language movies and TV shows, U.S. adults generally prefer watching with subtitles rather than overdubbed audio. This preference is especially pronounced for live-action content compared to non-English animation.

- Future Implications: The data suggest that subtitles and captions are becoming the norm for a majority of young adults, possibly influenced by their social media experiences. This trend could continue to grow, potentially leading to widespread subtitle usage for English-language TV and movies in the future.

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