Amazon Captioning requirements

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Requirements to meet Amazon Captioning

Requirements to meet Amazon Captioning

Amazon, the largest e-commerce company in the world, is offering its customers a variety of products such as electronics, video games, food, toys, software, jewelry, media, and more. However, with the company’s video publishing platform, the Amazon Prime Video direct has garnered tens of millions of users for Amazon prime video service. This is not unlike Netflix or Hulu but the only mainstream service that accepts unsolicited file submission. 

Thus, Amazon Video Direct allows creators to upload their videos for free. There are no setup or recurring charges to submit your content or manage them. All you need to do is to create an account with Amazon Video Direct, create a company profile, enter banking and payment information, and finally submit your tax information.

This article would completely guide you through the various requirements needed to include captions and subtitles to your video files before submitting them to Amazon Prime Video Direct. 

Processes to submit your video files

Though creators are allowed to directly upload all their videos for Prime video customers, it’s not just the mezzanine(video) file, but there are a few other files and data to be included. With the mezzanine file, you need to have the captions file, key art, metadata, and configuring availability. Every submission is accessed through a series of automated and manual reviews, and the licensing decision and process can take up to a month. 

Asset Requirements

Prime Video Direct supports video resolution up to 1920x1080p, and the 4K UHD is not supported currently. Various software in Amazon adjusts the delivery streams to a resolution that is appropriate to the device and connection speed of the customer.

Mezzanine Requirements

Always make sure to upload your highest quality video source. A mezzanine file is a compressed master video file used to produce additional compressed video streams and downloads.

Art/Graphic Asset Requirements

Images are most important for customers to discover and interact with your content on Prime Video.

Supported Languages

The language of the meta title decides the location of publication. The listing language of a Prime Video title must match the location’s supported language. If you publish a movie in the United States, the audio and the Captions should be in English. Thus, a mezzanine or caption file language should match the metadata language which is required to publish to that location.

Caption Requirements

Captions are timed texts. Captions enhance the viewing experience for all the customers, especially the hard of hearing, non-native English speakers, or those who prefer to watch videos without sound. 

It is necessary that all closed captions used in Amazon Prime should be in compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for completeness, accurate timings with synchronicity, and placement (one to three lines at a time)

Caption Requirements by Location:

United Kingdom

 In the UK, you either need audio or captions in the localized language. If you have the closed captions in Danish, you can still publish the movie in the UK as the audio track is in English.

United States

All the movies published in the United States should have separate captions file in localized language, which is English


All the titles published in Japan need burnt-in Japanese subtitles. Closed Captions in any language would be not visible to the customers in Japan. 

Untitled design 9

Other Requirements

  • Make sure to submit pop-on captions as they are the preferred option and are more time-synchronized, accurate, and descriptive (one to three lines at a time) than roll-up captions. Any file submitted with roll-on captions will be automatically converted by Amazon to pop-on captions.
  • In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), English captions are essential for all titles submitted to the US. It has also been made mandatory to have captions for all titles published to Amazon Video Direct worldwide. Despite burned-in captions, Amazon requires a separate caption file for all content submitted. For all the dialog in video files, captions in the native language of the content must be included.
  • Amazon Prime Video does not accept silent movies. If the title has extended scenes with no spoken content, Amazon insists on captions that include descriptions of the foreground or background audio elements. If there is background music with no lyrics, use descriptive words in brackets to convey the mood and tempo of the music. For extended silent scenes should be captioned with no audio (in brackets). 
  • If the music contains lyrics, it should be introduced with the name of the artist and the title within brackets. Unclear lyrics or lyrics in another language should be indicated to the viewer using a descriptive caption. 
  • Amazon requires all time codes to appear in a linear (sequential) order. All timed texts must start with zero-hour time code (i.e.00:00:00) to ensure to display at the correct time. Else expect a time-lapse of the audio and video with the offset time. If you have set an offset time (the time code does not start with (00:00:00)), the text would not display until the offset time into the video’s run time.   
  • Also, all caption files should be UTF-8 character encoded. Prime video does not support any other caption output file other than UTF-8. Thus ensure the output file is UTF-8 encoded else it would obstruct the readability of your content.
  • If you have both closed captions and subtitle files, Amazon prefers to receive Closed Captions/SDH to improve the viewing experience for audiences who are deaf and hard of hearing.

File Formats accepted by Prime Video

Leaving behind the fact that closed captions enhance the viewing experience of the deaf and the hard of hearing individuals, an additional advantage with it is that closed captions can be turned on and off anytime. There are many different format choices Amazon provides to its creators. The following closed captions formats are accepted by Prime 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.

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.


Subtitles are also timed text that only includes the dialogs and not the atmospherics. Subtitles are generally used for translating the source language of the title into another target language. Also, the placement of captions and subtitles differ on the screen. Subtitles can be burned into the mezzanine file or you can have a separate caption file. Here are several types of subtitle formats that are accepted by Prime Video for your choice. 

  • 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


Though Amazon accepts unsolicited file submissions, it’s crucial to meet the captioning specifications that should be included along with the mezzanine file. As discussed above, every submission undergoes a series of automated and manual reviews. Inappropriate caption files lead to rejections and you need to re-apply for licensing your video content which is really time-consuming. 

To bring you out of all such inconveniences and prevent your videos from rejections, we help you include captions in the required file formats supported by Amazon. All you need to do is to upload your videos in our secured portal and the professionally trained transcriptionists at CaptioningStar would ensure the closed captions are over 99% accurate. These timed-text files are in the formats accepted by Amazon Prime Video Direct.

We know its time consuming to understand all these specs and create timed text files for your shows and movies. At CaptioningStar, we strictly adhere to all the requirements of Netflix to provide valid captions which are over 99% accurate. We assure to work on your projects with certified translators and captioners. Contact us anytime!!!

Continue delivering content to your viewers while we work for you!