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Caption (timed text) Information

Amazon is a customer-obsessed company and captions help ensure a consistent viewing experience for all customers, including those who might be hearing-impaired, are non-native English speakers, or prefer to view videos without sound. Approximately 30% of all viewers use closed captions and 80% of those viewers aren't hearing-impaired. For these reasons closed captions are becoming a requirement on most professional video streaming sites. Caption files are an investment in the quality of your content and once created are yours to keep and use on any video platform.

What are the international captioning requirements?

  • Videos published in the United States must have English captions.
  • Videos published in the United Kingdom must have English captions or audio.
  • Videos published in Germany must have German captions or audio.
  • Videos published in Japan currently don't require captions, as they are unavailable in that territory.

Additionally, the Catalog Listing Language for a title must be the same as either the audio or caption language.

How do I create captions for my titles?
Creating closed captions files is a technical process that might be challenging for some content providers. We recommend engaging a 3rd party service to assist in the creation of high-quality captions files. The following is a sampling of providers that can assist you with video captions. Amazon isn’t affiliated with, nor endorses any specific provider.

Amazon Video accepts a variety of caption formats. Please review the information in the help topic to help you create acceptable captions files.

We recommend that you submit pop-on captions (captions that appear one to three lines at a time). If you provide roll-up captions, we must convert them to pop-on, which adds opportunity for error.

What if my title has no dialogue?
If a title contains no dialogue or has extended scenes with no spoken content, captions should include a description of the foreground or background audio elements. Extended silent scenes should be captioned with [no audio]. For background music, if the music is instrumental (no lyrics), use descriptive words [in brackets] to accurately convey the mood and tempo of music. If music contains lyrics, caption the lyrics verbatim. The lyrics should be introduced with the name of the artist and the title in brackets. In the event that lyrics are unclear or in another language, use a descriptive caption to indicate that to the viewer.

All captions files must conform to match the video source.

  • All dialog in video files requires captions in the native language of the content. English captions are required for all titles published in the United States. For example, in a movie listed as available in the United States, all dialog in English or in any other languages spoken in the movie must have corresponding English language captions.
  • If the video source being delivered doesn’t contain localized audio, then text for both forced narrative and dialogue events must be burned-in to the video. For example, a Japanese feature film delivered for distribution in the UK.

    What are forced narratives?

  • All timed text assets must start with zero-hour time code (i.e. 00:00:00). Assets that don’t adhere to this won’t display at the correct time. For example, files that have a one-hour offset will not display text until one hour into the video’s run time.
  • When creating captions files the output file for all timed text assets must be UTF-8 encoded. Amazon Video doesn’t support character encoding other than UTF-8. For example, when working with a 3rd party captions provider, please ensure that captions output file us UTF-8 encoded.
  • If you have both captions and subtitles available for a title, we prefer to receive Closed Captions/SDH to improve the viewing experience for customers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Closed Captions

Closed captions are timed text that includes both spoken dialogue and atmospherics for the deaf and hard of hearing. There are many different types of closed caption file formats that you can choose from when creating your captions files. The following closed captions formats are accepted by Amazon Video:

  • SMPTE-TT (RP-2052) with an .xml file extension
  • STL (EBU standard) with a .stl file extension (Spruce Subtitle file format which also has an .stl file extension not supported)
  • DFXP Full/TTML (Timed Text Markup Language) with a .dfxp file extension
  • iTT (iTunes Timed Text) files with a .iTT file extension
  • SCC (Scenarist Closed Caption) with a .scc file extension
  • SRT (SubRip text file format) with a .srt file extension
    SRT file content information and troubleshooting

English captions are required for all titles published in the United States.

All timecodes contained in a closed captions file must appear in linear (sequential) order.

Sample caption files
To understand formatting requirements of caption files, download this collection of sample files.


Subtitles are timed text assets that provide on-screen text of the program dialogue. Like closed caption formats, there are several types of subtitle file formats that you can choose from when creating the files. The following subtitle formats are accepted by Amazon Video:

  • DFXP Full / TTML (Timed Text Markup Language) with a .dfxp file extension
  • iTT (iTunes Timed Text) files with a .iTT file extension. iTT is a subset of TTML, version 1.0.
  • SubRip  with a .srt file extension
    SRT file content information and troubleshooting

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