Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Commission launches €1 million initiative to crowdsource subtitling to increase the circulation of European works

Article
The Commission is launching a €1 million hunt to find out how crowdsourcing or other innovative solutions can reduce the costs of obtaining subtitles and increase the exposure of European films in video on demand (VOD) services available in the EU. Applications are open until 25th September for projects to run in 2016. Giving EU audiences greater choice and creating wider audiences across borders for creators and their works, are among the aims of the Commission's strategy for the Digital Single Market.

Up to €1000 subtitling cost can deter creators

It costs on average between €600 and €1,000 to subtitle a film or creative work, no matter what the language. This cost factor may deter creators or distributors from releasing films with subtitles in languages which are only spoken by a small number of people. The risk is that the relatively limited audience and small demand  would not compensate for the subtitling costs.

This may also deter rights holders from releasing films in the language of countries with a low production capacity (for example Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden) unless this language is shared with another EU country with a high production capacity. The Commission hopes to test out innovative solutions, which could reduce subtitling costs or bring them more into relation with the expected revenues from VOD in each territory.

Search for innovative solutions, processes and models for cost effective subtitling

In practical terms, the initiatives aims to

  • test and develop innovative solutions, processes and models for obtaining subtitles that are more cost effective than the ones presently available on the market;
  • to apply these innovative solutions/processes/models to a well-designed catalogue of European works with a clear editorial line
  • support the making available of corresponding audiovisual works in VOD services.

The Commission hopes that this will

  • Help reduce the costs of making European works available by stimulating the development of cost effective solutions for subtitling, and
  • Increase the supply and the visibility of European audiovisual works online and increase their proportion in catalogues of VOD services available in the EU.

The Commission is already funding research into languages technologies, and it encourages potential applications to refer to these EU supported projects

More details and how to apply