Pornhub Makes Accessibility Sexy Again with Closed Captions

Or, we should say, even sexier. ?

Pornhub [NSFW], the adult video streaming giant amassing more than 28-billion visits per year, has introduced closed captions on hundreds of videos. As part of the Pornhub Cares division [NSFW], the project is the latest in a series aimed at making the world a better place–one sex scene at a time.

Closed captions show viewers what is being said and give information on other audio signals. For example, PornHub says its captions distinguish the difference between speakers, relay tone of voice, describe non-vocal audio, as well as transcribing the dialogue.

The new closed caption category [NSFW] is set to improve the accessibility of adult movies online for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers.

Pornhub VP Corey Price said in a statement,“it’s important that we continue to service all of our users’ needs and make content accessible.”

The statement also noted that, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 15% of American adults (roughly 37.5 million) report hearing trouble.

“Apply that to the rest of the world, who we service on a daily basis, and that number increases exponentially,” Corey added.

Putting claims to the test

Investigations weren’t entirely exhaustive–there are currently more than 350 videos in the category–but it seems some of the promised features are yet to be delivered.

“Tone of voice” isn’t clear in any instance other than when someone laughs, and “non-vocal audio” was limited to somewhat unimaginative “gagging” and “babbling and moaning”.

Most dialogue subtitles indicate a new speaker with dashes. Still, it’s not easy to figure out who is talking, particularly when the faces are out of frame and in videos with more than two people.

However, the captions significantly enhance comprehension and clarify the storyline, and any confusion certainly doesn’t impair the videos. It’s also important to observe that this is the first mainstream adult video site to add closed captions to its videos. Extra points awarded for good intent.

So, what do viewers think?

Rikki Poynter, a 26-year-old deaf vlogger on YouTube, discussed the move on her channel with a largely positive, albeit perplexed, response: “You finally get to understand what the pizza delivery guy is saying,” she said laughing.

“I can’t knock it… Some people thought it was very strange, but accessibility is accessibility,” she continued. “Good job, Pornhub.”

Online commentary from able-bodied users was generally positive, too. From joking about enjoying a storyline without waking the neighbors to considering accessibility for an ageing population, there is a clear consensus that viewers of all types appreciate Porhhub adopting the interpretive technology

Philanthropic pornography

The also site recently optimized its platform with enlarged text, customized color contrasts, and keyboard shortcuts to further improve accessibility for visually impaired users.

Back in June 2016, PorbHub also launched a category for described video [NSFW], which features detailed audio narration overlayed on 50 of the site’s top videos for the blind and visually impaired.

At the time, the streaming service said it hoped the new category of voiceover videos would “open the door and inspire community members, content partners and other platforms to create more content with the differently-abled in mind”.

These initiatives have all been championed by the charitable division Pornhub Cares, which has also campaigned for a range of other noble causes.

In 2017, a panda conservation awareness and fundraising campaign called on users to generate content dressed in panda costumes or make up. “Panda Style” resulted in a $100 donation to giant panda conservation charities for each video uploaded.

“Old School” is a sex education video and informational site geared at seniors over 65 living in retirement communities and nursing homes. It promotes safe sex in all senses of the term–from condoms preventing STIs to low-impact positions preventing injuries.

PornHub has held awareness campaigns for other causes, including breast cancer research (“Save the Boobs”), neutering pets (“Too Much Sex Can Be a Bad Thing”), and re-planting trees (“Pornhub Gives America Wood”), and grants a $25,000 scholarship to one student each year.

It’s clear that Pornhub loves to get behind a good cause and a witty name, but can it follow through?

The site didn’t respond to requests for comment or allude to when the remaining videos will become available with closed captions However, the inaugural library was announced to become a collection of 1,000 videos. So, keep hitting refresh because there’s plenty more to come.

Image sources: PornHub [NSFW]