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    HomeBusinessNetflix announces slew of new accessibility features, ramps up audio descriptions and...

    Netflix announces slew of new accessibility features, ramps up audio descriptions and subtitling

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    A big reason the platform has been planning for this expansion is that more subscribers are watching content from across the globe.

    Netflix will expand its accessibility features and launch a new collection highlighting stories on people living with disabilities in celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Celebrating Disability with Dimension will function like the platform’s other special collections that pull from the streaming giant’s catalogue of content to promote their visibility as users browse the platform. Netflix will also beef up its audio descriptions (AD) and subtitles for deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) offerings in more languages, including French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Korean.

    Netflix’s closed captioning, subtitles for SDH, and AD are powerful tools designed to help make television shows and films more accessible to people with disabilities. The features have become integral parts of how people from all walks of life consume content and Netflix plans to give subscribers more of what they want.

    Heather Dowdy, Netflix’s Director of Product Accessibility, said: “How we access stories has changed a lot. Whether it’s video conference calls, texting, or the flashing doorbell, nowadays technology can build bridges to access for many people living with disabilities.”

    “That’s why today, to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day, I’m excited to announce that we’re expanding our language availability of Audio Descriptions (AD) and Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (SDH). Starting this month and into 2023, these features will be made available across more of our catalogue and in more languages including Spanish, Portuguese, and French.”

    Dowdy said providing these features to those who need them was the core of the work she had done at Netflix. A big reason the platform has been planning for this expansion is that more subscribers are watching content from across the globe.

    “By increasing our SDH and AD language availability to over 20 languages, we hope to give all of our members the ability to see their lives reflected on screen, no matter where you’re from, what language you speak, or what abilities you have. We are also introducing new badges for our shows and films that have AD and SDH on Web and iOS to make it easier to discover stories suited for your needs,” she said.

    Netflix said 40% of its global user base regularly used subtitles and that people had been watching thousands of hours worth of shows such as OzarkLucifer, and Seinfeld with audio descriptions turned on. Dowdy said Netflix also worked with the disability community to develop robust AD guidelines meant to make its approach to accessibility more inclusive.

    “That’s why we’ve launched our first-ever collection, titled ‘Celebrating Disability with Dimension’, featuring over 50 shows and films with characters or stories about people living with disabilities,” Dowdy said.

    “With over 1 billion people living with disabilities globally, the opportunity to tell more inclusive stories and bond within our communities over storytelling is tremendous. We will also be hosting Accessibility Screenings in select countries globally to bring our AD and SDH features to life outside of the living room and discuss ways to make entertainment more accessible.”

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