Benefits of Adding Subtitles to Video Advertisements

Subtitling helps your commercials to reach out wider

It makes sense to spend a little extra to create subtitles or closed captions for your advertisements as it allows your adverts to connect with a larger audience. It is estimated that over 10 million people in the UK are facing difficulty with hearing loss. This means that there is a significant chance for UK TV advertisers to extend their influence to this community by having subtitles on their commercials.

It is also estimated that there are more than 3 million people in the UK exercising English as their second language, and advertisements in English are not really getting the message across to these people. Subtitling would significantly help this community to comprehend advertisements with fast and accented English dialogues.

With subtitles running on them, your advertisements communicate to your potential customers even with the volume turned off. Subtitling helps to comprehend adverts even in public and other noisy environments like restaurants, gyms, airports, bars, etc.

Companies that operate globally would need their commercials to communicate with a diverse set of audience spreading across the globe. Rather than recreating commercials in different languages, it is always better for these companies to create subtitles in different languages for their adverts. This essentially helps to cut down the cost of creating commercials multiple times. Creating subtitles or captions in multiple languages is apparently less expensive than recreating commercials multiple times in different languages.

In addition to reaching out to a wider audience; subtitling your advertisements can also help when you repurpose your commercials for social media. While ads are played on social media like Facebook or Instagram, often they are muted. When users interact with the commercials in social media, they do not have audio to deliver the context. Subtitling your advertisement engages your users, which in turn increases the impact of your advertisement. So, subtitles are not only important for your broadcast TV, but it is all the more important when you repurpose your ads for social media.

Digital Nirvana Partners with Clearcast to Provide Subtitles for Advertisements

Digital Nirvana, leading global provider of media solutions, has entered into a partnership with Clearcast to provide subtitles for commercials in the UK market. The service is offered through an easy-to-use online portal called The advertisers can upload their videos and get them subtitled quickly through this portal.

Clearcast is the UK’s sole television clearance house that looks at about 61,000 TV commercials a year. Being able to upload commercials online and have subtitling done in minutes is going to be a big benefit for the UK advertising agencies as it speeds up the process, and would also reduce the barrier that is holding back advertisement subtitling in the UK.

The best practices to be adopted by the closed captioning service providers

Closed captioning, as we all know, is the textual interpretation of speech and non-speech elements presented on visual display screens. Closed captions help to reach out to a wider audience including hard of hearing and people with different language capabilities. There are many closed caption service providers operating in the market. Let us look at some best practices that can be adopted by the service providers while creating closed captions.

  • Closed captions should be displayed on the screen in synchronization with the visuals.
  • Captions should fade away from the screen once the corresponding visuals disappear.
  • It is essential that the captions stay on screen long enough for the viewers to read them.
  • Minimum display time can be set as 1.5 seconds for dialogs that are short as a word or two; however, this cannot be applied for rapid dialogs.
  • Closed captions should be placed in a fashion that the visuals are not obstructed. Viewers should be able to read through the captions and at the same time follow the visuals.
  • There should not be more than two lines of text at any given time on screen.
  • Try not to end a sentence and begin another sentence on the same line and retain all the words as it is spoken.
  • Do not avoid words like “so”, “because”, “but”, “too”, etc. These words are essential to convey the exact meaning of spoken words.
  • Where ever there is an “inaudible”, place a label to explain the cause. For example; crowd noise sinks speech, noisy market, etc.
  • Display closed captions describing sound effects in lowercase italics inside brackets/parentheses. For Example; (child crying) (car screeching).
  • Identify speakers and display their names against the captions. Example; (Joe) How are you? (Mary) I am doing great.
  • Inserting music icon is a method to indicate that a song is being played on the screen. A hashtag can also be used to indicate songs.
  • Movies and TV content closed captions do not generally use full stops/periods, but it should be left to content owners’ discretion. However, question marks or exclamation marks should be used to give clarity to a phrase.
  • It is always good to start sentences in capital letters. Capitalize an entire word only if it indicates screaming.
  • Spell numbers out from one to ten and numerals for numbers higher than ten. For technical and sports terms, use numerals. Example: (scored 5 goals out of 6 penalties)

These are general closed captioning styles in practice; however, these rules can be tweaked or altered as per specific customer requirements.

CEA 608 Closed Captions Pave Way for CEA-708 Closed Captions

CEA-608 and CEA-708 captions are the two closed caption standards for broadcast television. CEA-608 captions are the old standard used in analog television while CEA-708 captions are the new standard format used in current digital television broadcasts. (CEA – Consumer Electronics Association)

In the US, with the signing of DTV Delay Act in 2009, analog television was officially replaced by digital television. This required the captioning providers to switch from CEA-608 captions to CEA-708 captions. Although CEA-608 captions are still supported by digital television, CEA-708 captions are considered to be the preferred choice as CEA-708 caption standard complies with the FCC closed caption regulations.

With the DTV Delay Act, analog television slowly moved out from modern use; CEA-608 captions will also wean away from use.

CEA-608 Closed Captions (Line 21 Captions)

Analog broadcast television used to use 608-captions as their standard; however, 608-standard can also be embedded in digital television. These closed captions are displayed in conventional uppercase with black-box background. 608 captions can be viewed only if you have a decoder as they are concealed in the Line 21 data area of the analog television signal. This is the reason why 608 captions are also known as Line-21 Captions. There are two fields in Line-21; first field is normally used to transmit English captions while the second field is used for Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German and Dutch closed captions. The main problem with 608-caption standard is that it does not adhere to many of the FCC closed caption regulations.

CEA-708 Closed Captions

708 captions are low bandwidth textual, and it is the standard used by all digital television broadcasts. 708-caption standard is much more advanced than CEA-608 captions. This captions standard is used in both standard-definition and high-definition digital broadcasts; it is a misconception that 708-captions are only used in high-definition channels. With 708 caption standard, viewers can control appearance of the captions. This standard allows viewers to select font options, text sizes, text colors and background colors. In CEA-708 captions there are 8 options for font, 3 for text sizes, 64 for text colors and 64 for background colors. CEA-708 caption does not work in analog television broadcasts. 708 captions support almost all languages used across the world. This standard also supports any special character or symbol. 708 captions have multilingual competence, which allows the broadcasters to reach out to a wider audience across the world.