More than a quarter of cinemagoers would prefer to attend a screening where the film is captioned

Survey respondents were shown a short captioned film and then answered a series of questions about their feelings toward the captions, and captioned cinema screenings in general.

Of these, 22% of respondents felt captions would positively affect their cinema experience, with 55% reporting captions would not affect their cinema experience at all.

Moreover, 44% said they wouldn’t mind if a cinema was showing a captioned film; and 27% would like it or even actively choose captions.Younger age groups were more inclined to prefer captioned screenings than older age groups.

Vinnies Ability Linker, Michael Doran, has been working with cinemas since 2017 to introduce captioned screenings.

“Originally we were aiming to make the moviegoing experience more inclusive for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing,” said Michael.

“However, captioning has wider benefts, especially for people who are learning English, and both children and people with English as their second language,” said Michael.

Vinnies Ability Links has already successfully worked with two cinemas to introduce regular captioned screenings. Both cinemas report that customers are happy to attend the screenings, even if they themselves are not Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

One customer from The Ritz in Randwick wrote to say, “The inclusion of captioning and promotion of access to the joy of the cinematic experience is much welcomed. Being in this environment with my child was also recognised by her as one of inclusion and support.”

Ability Links is a free, NSW Government initiative promoting inclusion in the community.  The St Vincent de Paul Society NSW delivers Ability Links in the Hunter, Central Coast and Sydney Metro South regions.

Linkers work in two ways: by supporting people with disabilities including mental health needs, their families and carers to fulfil their dreams and goals, and by linking with businesses and organisations in the community to make shared spaces physically and socially accessible.

Vinnies Ability Links commissioned Octopus Group, an independent market research company, to conduct the research into cinema captioning. There were 500 people surveyed.

See the results in this infographic.