On the Edge Conservation has launched British Sign Language episodes and subtitles for its popular YouTube series about lesser-known endangered animals, to make the content more accessible to kids who are hard of hearing and to promote reading skills.
The series (which features ‘Lexi’ - a wannabe DJ and aye-aye from Madagascar, alongside ‘Eric’ - a university student who is a Chinese pangolin from Asia, and Tegan - an outgoing and quirky Kakapo from New Zealand) has been hugely popular with YouTube audiences, generating nearly half a million views since its launch in November 2020.
By 2050, nearly 2.5 billion people are projected to have some degree of hearing loss worldwide. Adding British Sign Language will allow a wider audience of children to access the series, engage with the characters and learn more about the natural world.
Automatic subtitling is not a regular feature for YouTube series, but a study* by the ‘Turn on the Subtitles’ campaign group revealed that children who watch TV with subtitles have double the chance of becoming a more skilled reader in the long term.
This launch is another pioneering step by OTEC as a digital storyteller; not only has the conservation charity created the first virtual YouTubers for kids, but now it is benchmarking accessibility across its YouTube channel and boosting the educational effect of its content.
Inclusivity is at the forefront of what we do as an organisation. OTEC aims to preserve and protect endangered species that get less consideration than more popular animals such as tigers and rhinos. We also want every young kid or Gen Z to be able to access our content and enjoy learning about the natural world together with their friends or family. This is a step towards that goal.
New British Sign Language and subtitled episodes of the YouTube series will be uploaded every Tuesday and Friday. Each is available in the British Sign Language playlist on the channel and is clearly identifiable.
On the Edge Conservation uses unique digital storytelling methods across social media platforms to inspire and engage a growing number of young activists to champion our natural world.
* Based on an academic study of 2,350 children, 34% became good readers with schooling alone. But when exposed to 30 minutes a week of subtitled film songs, that proportion more than doubled to 70%. There are lots of studies about the benefits of subtitles. This is just one! Check out our research page to find out more.
Through innovative storytelling and cutting-edge technology, we aim to raise the profile and importance of diverse species, their habitats and the amazing people that protect them.
The ultimate objective is to help people value the natural world and ultimately take action to protect and restore it.
Bruna Capozzoli is a digital specialist with over 15 years' experience in content creation, specifically helping IP owners produce original YouTube content outside of the traditional broadcast model.
Bruna was Creative Director of Popcorn Digital for the company’s first three years, during which she created content and advised for brands like Angry Birds, Playmobil, Dr. Seuss, Pablo, Total Drama and The Last Kids on Earth.