Monday, December 27, 2010

Netflix, do they give a $*%@ about the Deaf/deaf/HOH market?

It cheeses me off that Netflix does not provide closed captioning. There's very little closed captioned choices on Netflix. I can't seem to find anything on the web about why the company is dragging its feet on CC. You'd think Netflix would make CC a priority in order to reach a larger market.

Currently there are a few foreign films in the database. I have a IMDB list of foreign films I'd like to watch but none of them are available on Netflix. Last week my husband found one closed captioned documentary - Super High Me. It's about a not-so-funny comedian who smokes a lot of marijuana for a month and what effect it has on him (turns out to have not much of an effect). I'm disappointed that they didn't choose to caption more high caliber movies, instead they give HOH/Deaf bottom-of-the-barrel movies.

The FCC rules require people or companies that distribute television programs directly to home viewers to make sure those programs are captioned. Under the rules, 100 percent of nonexempt programs shown on or after January 1, 1998, must be closed captioned by January 1, 2006. Also, 75 percent of nonexempt programs shown before January 1, 1998, must be closed captioned by January 1, 2008. The rules do not apply to videotapes, laser disks, digital video disks, or video game cartridges.

Does Netflix get an exemption because they distribute movies directly to home viewers and not television programs? If so, I'm not seeing closed captioning on the Television programs either but again it's probably because they're a television program recorded on DVD.

I've checked the web and find reports about a CC service on Netflix coming soon but all the announcements are dated the being the beginning of 2010. It's now the end of 2010 and from what I'm seeing a handful of programs/movies are captioned. I did read a blog that said there were about a total of 100 captioned tv programs/movies in the database but you can't search for captioned items, you just have to stumble upon one by looking at each items description.

When my husband is using our television to watch a movie via Netflix, I'm doing something else, instead of sharing the movie experience with him. Recently he was watching a PBS TV documentary called "This Emotional Life" I caught just enough to see that it was quite good and something I'd like to fully understand. While he's taking in the program I'm checking the web to see what it would cost to buy the DVD just so I can get closed captioning. I've got to spend $40 to watch something that we already get through a subscription to Netflix. Very frustrating. The closed captioning/Disabilities Acts legislation needs some updating. Streaming is becoming the norm and needs to be included in the CC regulations.


NC-mac-ASL said...

Actually Netflix *has* been adding Subtitles to their online movies/TV shows since April 2010. These are viewable only if you have Netflix on a PC, Mac, Wii or PS3 (so far). Currently only 395 titles have been subtitled for US Viewers (so far). List is here: (NOTE: I do not keep track of which titles are/aren't available in Canada. If you live in Canada, provides searchable listings for both Subtitles AND Canada; however, they do not have as many subtitled titles listed in their service)

R said...

Thanks very much for the website. I wonder why Netflix doesn't have their own list and make it easy for their customers?

Seems like a bad marketing strategy which alienates the Deaf/deaf/HOH community.

BTW, we currently access Netflix through Wii and via PC and Mac. And we are in Canada.

R said...

Looks like 90% of the cc'd movie and 100% cc'd TV titles are not available in Canada.

I'll keep an eye on the web list.