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Why Gen Z likes to read subtitles when they’re watching TV shows and movies


Subtitles used to be for understanding a foreign film, but it’s been embraced by younger viewers who want to read what’s being said on their favourite programs.

Research from shows 70 per cent of Gen Z respondents (people aged between 10 and 25) prefer subtitles either sometimes or all the time when watching TV shows and movies.

And Millennials (people aged 26-41) ranked second with 53 per cent followed by Gen X (38 per cent) and Baby Boomers (35 per cent).

But the next question is why they prefer subtitles and the responses varied between wanting to understand accents and slang, watching on a mobile device, wanting to learn a new language and simply not wanting to miss a thing.

Many US respondents had a problem with accents with actors like Tom Hardy topping the list of actors and his show Peaky Blinders topping the list of the hardest shows to understand.

Other actors identified as being difficult to understand included Sofia Vergara, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sean Connery, Johnny Depp and Jackie Chan.

Game of Thrones, Outlander and Downton Abbey were the shows that topped the list as hardest to understand.

The Gen Z viewers are also watching their content on a device (74 per cent) and often in public and rely on the subtitles to keep them focused and to make it easier to follow when they sometimes can’t hear the original audio.

The survey also showed that viewers watching foreign language movies preferred to hear the show’s native language and read the English subtitles rather than hearing the dubbed English soundtrack.