Closed caption, subtitles for deafness and hard of hearing, and audio descriptions are all used to make films and television shows more accessible to people with disabilities. Those kinds of features have become an important part of how people from all walks of life consume the streaming platform's content.
In celebration of Global accessibility Awareness Day, Netflix is going to expand its accessibility features across the globe and launch a new collection of stories focused on people living with disabilities. The platform's other special collections pull from the catalog of existing content with the goal of promoting their visibility as users browse the service. Spanish, French, Korean, and Portuguese are just a few of the languages where the new collection is available.
When we spoke with Heather Dowdy, the director of accessibility at Netflix, she explained that the ability to use AD and SDH depends on whether the networks airing the content provide the features in multiple languages. English-speakers who want to watch the series with English AD or SDH will only be able to do so if accessibility is prioritized by the platform airing it.
One of the reasons that the platform has been planning for this expansion is the fact that more subscribers are watching content from across the globe.
We are adding more titles because we recognize that people are finding these stories all over the world.
40 percent of the global user base uses subtitles and people have watched hundreds of thousands of hours of shows with their audio descriptions turned on, according to the company. The platform worked with members of the disability community to develop more robust AD guidelines meant to make the platform more inclusive.
The things that bring our characters to life are things like race, gender, hair texture, and skin tone.
Bridgerton is one of the most watched shows on the platform, with subtitles in six countries. The story of Squid Game, whose English subtitles came under fire for being woefully inaccurate, has been different. As part of its new initiative to ensure that shows and movies are original voices are maintained, Dowdy didn't specify what steps the streamer will take. She said that the Squid Game situation was a learning opportunity for the company.
If our members with disabilities aren't able to access that title and give us feedback to improve the SDH, then we aren't serving all of the members the best way that we can.