Saturday, April 23, 2011

Netflix: Make Films Accessible for the Deaf & HOH

Update: (5/3/2011)  The original petition was updated/altered towards more achievable goals with Netflix, thanks to the help of Benjamin with and Chris Sanyo of

Update: (4/27/2011)  Netflix does provide an option to find their current content that has Subtitles.  It is located at the bottom of any of their web pages, Subtitles & Captions but there is no way to search the various Genres, instead you have to scroll through the list to find what you're looking for.
Additionally, there is now a Class Action lawsuit against Netflix in regards to this same issue.  You can read more about it from the Deaf Politics website.
If you'd like to see other issues with Netflix, please visit the Netflix Underground Blog (not affiliated with Netflix).
Original Post:
Having recently lost the majority of my hearing, I'm discovering the many challenges the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community face on a daily basis.  With all of our technology, resources, and abilities, there remains a lack of equal access.  Corporate good-will seems to be lacking, corporations instead wait until this issue is forced upon them through legal actions or legislation.  Netflix, along with many others such as Apple, are such companies.  I'm sure in time there will be petitions or public outcries towards other companies, but today I'm focused on Netflix.  Below is the Petition, please show your support by signing the Petition, even if you can hear you can support access for others, so Thank You!

Being appreciate of the efforts of Netflix to provide Subtitles on some of their streaming content, and being thankful for such improvements to access by the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community,  I would like to encourage Netflix to provide a detailed search option of the current subtitled content.  

As it exists now, the web page that lists content with Subtitles doesn't allow a detailed search, which requires the Deaf and HOH (hard-of-hearing) limited options and time consuming searchs (or use of other resources, like  for content they can enjoy.  

Additionally, the Netflix web page that lists the content with Subtitles shows Television shows that have Subtitles, however, the individual Episodes are not identified as to having or not having Subtitles.  

Knowing the ability of Netflix to provide searches based upon ratings and preferences, then perhaps adding a data field for the existing software can be possible to allow the subtitled content to be more readily identifiable for the Deaf and HOH.


Netflix: Make Films Accessible for the Deaf & HOH


Since 2009 Netflix has been working to include Subtitles (an option for Closed Captioning) for their Streaming Movies, yet, even through their extensive software and a listing of their Subtitled content on a single web page, there remains the absence of a detailed search option for such content. 

Since the passage of the "Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010" into law on Friday, October 8, 2010, there should be captioning for programs on the Internet for the 36 million deaf and hard-of-hearing people in the United States. 

Corporate responsibility and good-will, such as already shown by Netflix's willingness to provide Subtitles, should be the rule, not the exception, for providing equal access. However, such good-will should be expanded to aide the deaf and HOH in utilizing fee based services. 

We hereby request that Netflix implement the following: 

1. Display "With Subtitles" (or other clearly identifiable mark) below the Movie/TV Show Name on all displays of content selections as a stop-gap measure until ALL movies have CC or Subtitles. 

2. Netflix to provide detailed search functionality of content with subtitles, not just a simple listing of such content. 

3. Upon implementation of such, advertise heavily in the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Communities informing us about the implementation success. 

4. Netflix to provide a "Limited Access Rate" (or a substantial discount) to any person who is Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing until ALL content provides Equal Access, which can be accomplished through a simple legal certification process of your choosing. (Perhaps through a direct email address for any deaf or HOH customers to prove such status.)