NCI Releases Captioning Study Results

A survey by the National Captioning Institute Foundation indicated that while audiences are aware of closed captioning and think it is important, they also believe that captions contain too many mistakes or move at an uncomfortable reading pace. More than 50 percent of respondents indicated that they have had difficulty understanding missing or scrambled captions, and more than 33 percent indicated difficulty due to the captions moving too quickly.

The captioning on local news was identified as having the poorest quality. Evaluations of local and national news programs indicate that viewers experience greater difficulty understanding their captions than they do with other types of television programming. Respondents most often complained that at times there is no captioning and the captioning that exists is garbled. Further frustrations were related to a lack of information about which programs are captioned, and the possibility that federal funds to support the service might be withdrawn.

The NCI Foundation is the educational outreach and fundraising branch of the National Captioning Institute. The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania conducted the survey, which examined the quality of closed captioning to determine broadcast industry executives' and end users' view of the service and how it may be improved.