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Netflix To Improve Disability Access

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Internet movie giant Netflix will make major changes to accommodate those with disabilities rather than continue a legal battle over its responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In a settlement reached this week, Netflix said it will provide closed captioning on all television shows and movie content it streams by 2014.

The agreement is a win for advocates for the deaf and hard of hearing. The National Association of the Deaf along with the Western Massachusetts Association of the Deaf and Hearing-Impaired and Lee Nettles, a Massachusetts resident who is deaf, sued in 2010 to force the company to caption all of its content.

Netflix initially fought the legal action arguing that the company’s offerings were exempt from the ADA.

Already, 90 percent of what’s watched on Netflix includes captioning, the company said. While the streaming service works to bring that number to 100 percent over the next two years, Netflix also pledged to identify more clearly for subscribers which content is and is not captioned.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement and hope it serves as a benchmark for other providers of streaming video entertainment,” Neil Hunt, chief product officer at Netflix, said in a statement.

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Comments (2 Responses)

  1. KA101 says:

    Glad to see that Netflix is doing the right thing, though it’s irritating that it took them so long. Closed-captioning, subtitles, and other such assistive features are important in all media.

    -KA101, hearing-privileged autistic who routinely uses subtitles, and appreciates closed-captioning in public areas (where it’s not always possible for hearing folks to hear the news/weather). Accessibility FTW.

  2. NCmacASL says:

    Actually it is 82% of all “streamed hours” of content has captions available. This is far different than the number of catalog titles (which may be less popular and streamed less often). Currently about 65% of their entire catalog currently has subtitles.

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