While it’s a little behind Twitter Spaces on this front, Clubhouse has announced that closed captions are now available for Clubhouse chats, starting on iOS.
closed captioning is here for iOS! update your app now to see it in action in live rooms.— Clubhouse (@Clubhouse) November 17, 2021
here's a lil' example, in case you need convincing... pic.twitter.com/v2poAjE2Pl
As you can see here, the new live captions option will enable users to follow along in text format, improving accessibility, while also facilitating expanded usage, with people able to tune in in ‘sound off’ situations if they choose. It can also help to clarify context and meaning, with the added benefit of having the written text available to support the audio as it comes through.
Clubhouse captions are only available in English right now, and only on iOS, but an additional 12 languages are reportedly in beta testing.
As noted, captions have been available on Twitter Spaces, which is arguably now the leading audio social platform, since the beginning, though Twitter did have the advantage of having a live captioning back-end in place as a layover from Periscope.
Given the rise of Twitter Spaces, the pathway for Clubhouse’s ongoing success is more challenging, but the app is still growing, especially in India, which is now its biggest market, based on download data from App Annie (10.3m downloads in India vs 5m in the US).
With a much bigger potential audience base, and with Twitter failing to gain significant traction in the Indian market, that could make the region a more beneficial focus for Clubhouse – so while its momentum may have slowed in western markets, Clubhouse still has significant opportunity, if it can maximize its take-up in different regions.
And if it can establish a solid base, that will enable Clubhouse to keep building, which could ensure its long-term success.
So while it may seemingly have fallen behind, Clubhouse does still have an avenue to ongoing success, and it could still become a key connective app for various sectors and demographic groups.
Closed captions adds another element to its broader push.