The Silent Shift: Navigating the New Streaming Soundscape

Viewers finds it difficult to hear TV dialogue amidst background sounds.

In the beginning, there was silence. During the first three decades of cinema, text was the only way to convey speech, and many celebrated stars of the silent era faded away during the transition to sound. Almost a century after the shift from text to sound as the primary medium for movie dialogue, we are witnessing a silent shift of balance in the opposite direction. The driver of this trend isn’t solely the new habit of watching movies on mute in noisy surroundings. Even the sound quality itself seems to be getting worse.

Recent data confirms that public viewing is the new normal. A 2022 survey, which questioned over 1,260 Americans, found that 57% of all respondents and 74% of Gen Z watch content in public settings. A startling 55% of respondents also noted that they find it more difficult to hear dialogue in shows and movies compared to the past.

Why is that? And what does it mean for TV channels and streaming services striving to make sure their content is accessible and engaging for their audience?

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