European Commission launches call for proposals for EU subtitling

The European Commission is putting €1 million behind an initiative to identify how crowdsourcing or other innovative solutions might reduce the costs of subtitling, thereby increasing the exposure of European audiovisual works in on-demand services. 

Eligible content includes fiction, animation and creative documentary feature films, television programmes or series. Applications are open until 25 September 2015 for projects to run in 2016. 

The problem

It costs between €600 and €1,000 on average to subtitle a film or creative work in any language. This can deter distributors from releasing films subtitled into languages which are only spoken by a small number of people, since the limited audience and demand would not cover the cost of subtitling. Equally, high subtitling costs can put rights holders off releasing films in languages from countries with a low production capacity, unless it is also spoken in another EU country with a high production capacity. The Commission hopes to test out solutions which could reduce subtitling costs or better align them with expected VoD revenues in each country.

The search for solutions

The objective of this Call for Proposals is to test and develop more cost-effective subtitling solutions and to apply these to a well-designed catalogue of European works with a clear editorial line. 

By stimulating the development of more profitable ways of subtitling works, the Commission hopes to increase the supply and visibility of European audiovisual works online and to achieve a higher number of works included in catalogues of VoD services.

More detailed information and an application form can be found on the Commission's website.