In an agreement with the National Association for the Deaf (NAD) in the US, Netflix has committed to ensuring that within two years all content on the service is captioned while also providing an improved user interface for users with a hearing impairment in the interim.
Two years ago, the NAD filed a class-action lawsuit against Netflix on the grounds of non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The two parties have now submitted a join consent decree to a federal court in Massachusetts outlining how Netflix plans to reach 100pc captioning by 2014.
The majority of content available on Netflix is captioned but the service is now bound to apply this to all content. Netflix has also said that this will be applied faster, planning to caption content within 30 days by 2014, 14 days by 2015 and seven days by 2016, striving to reach a point where captions launch with the content.
Though it is not legally required to do so, Netflix has also said it will make an effort to make captions available on all devices where the service can be accessed.
Netflix will also improve its user interface so subscribers can easily identify what content has been captioned so far.
A benchmark for video streaming
“The National Association of the Deaf congratulates Netflix for committing to 100pc captioning, and is thrilled to announce that 48m deaf and hard of hearing people will be able to fully access Netflix’s Watch Instantly services,” said Howard Rosenblum, CEO of the NAD.
“We are pleased to have reached this agreement and hope it serves as a benchmark for other providers of streaming video entertainment,” added Netflix’s chief product officer, Neil Hunt.