Gen-Z and their Latest Obsession with…Subtitles?!
Ciara Anderson | August 5, 2022
In the New Roaring 20s, streaming services have become a saving grace in a lonely world of isolation and quarantine. On average, about 109.4 million American households are subscribed to at least 1 or more major streaming services. Hulu, Netflix, HBO MAX, and Disney+ have skyrocketed in popularity, becoming every teen's escape from reality.
However, recently there has been an increase in the usage of subtitles and closed captioning on these streaming services. According to recent studies, 4 out 5 young adults within the age range of 18-25 utilizes subtitles to enhance their viewer experience. This has been incredibly prevalent with the recent release of Stranger Things Season 4 this summer. Some of the…oddly specific captions ended up going viral on Twitter for their absolute hilarity.
But Gen Z is a fairly young generation, so why are they using captions and subtitles more than most older viewers?
It is a mystery yet to have a solid answer, but there are some safe assumptions. According to The Telegraph, it could be an attention span issue. Many teens and young adults tend to "pay attention" to multiple screens at once. Often they hold a phone or something similar in their hands while they watch The Office, Wandavision, or Game of Thrones. By having subtitles on, some say it's easier to "pay attention to", or rather get the gist of the content that's happening on their screen.
Or it could be the increasing issue of audio mixing errors on behalf of production companies. A lot of the most popular shows on Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO MAX are shows including actors that use more "realistic dialect" that is often significantly quieter compared to dialect used in movies from the early 2010s. Add in the mildly poor audio engineering from production companies, who are often just rushing to get a project released, and you have a bit of a recipe for disaster. Pop in a copy of Mean Girls or Freaky Friday next to an episode of Euphoria or Bridgerton. You'll quickly be able to tell the difference in the audio mixing and speaking tones from both eras of entertainment.
Regardless, young adults continue to consume entertainment on a regular basis. And even though some older adults may preach of the "death of reading" (TheTelegraph) in our Generation, it's hard to ignore the revolutionary way in which we engage in our day-to-day entertainment and viewing experiences.
So please excuse the mildly complex and concerning words you may see describing a scene in your favorite show. The closed captioning-writer is just poking a bit of fun!