3 May 2016 VITAC

Netflix to Offer Audio Description On Popular Titles

Netflix Will Offer Audio Description on Streaming and Rental Titles, Implement Screen-Reading Software for Website and App

Blind and low-vision Netflix consumers will now have better access to its popular programming. In a settlement reached last month, Netflix has now agreed to produce audio description for a lot of its content.

Audio description is a feature that can be turned on or off that provides plot-pertinent spoken representation of on-screen actions and scenery. It is also commonly referred to as video description, and is professionally scripted, voiced, and seamlessly engineered and mixed into the program’s audio track.

Netflix has agreed to describe its content as part of a settlement with the American Council of the Blind, The Massachusetts Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) and a blind individual, Robert Baran. They were represented in the case by Disability Rights Advocates.

Not only will the settlement cover audio description of the video content in the streaming service, but it also applies to the DVDs and Blu-Rays in Netflix’s rental library.

The agreement also extends to Netflix’s website and mobile applications, which will soon have screen-reading software for blind and low-vision users.

VITAC applauds Netflix for this step towards accessibility for all users. We urge other online video programmers to consider audio description.

By Brittany Bender