Streaming content – how not to provide access

The last 5-10 years have given us different platforms from which to obtain TV programmes and movies.  And with it have come new services including online streaming of content.  In the US and Canada one such service is Netflix.  It But last week the company made a decision which has proved unpopular.  The decision in the USA to increase the cost of DVD rental (for which a greater amount is subtitled/captioned) making it more costly than the option to watch streamed content for which far less choice is available with subtitles or closed captioning available.  It’s been described as a ‘deaf tax’ and I think people are rightly angry. For a more detailed analysis of the history of Netflix and closed captioning make sure you read Don’s Blog.  And if you are angry about this Deaf Politics are urging USAers to unsubscribe from Netflix and let them know here. Some are trying to do what Netflix should be doing in the first place. Using online resources this blog currently lists streamed titles from Netflix for which they have sourced subtitles/closed captions.  And this  wiki site makes it easier to search titles where closed captions are available because in the words of the site developer:

I’ve started this wiki because Netflix sees no reason to offer a category on their site to identify captioned movies. (Of course, they do offer a category for HD streams, but captions are apparently not important enough.) YouTube and Hulu both have the option to search only for captioned movies, so the omission of such a category on Netflix is particularly surprising– and thus, for the meantime, I’ve decided to take this matter into my own hands

Clearly there is a demand then, and if a consumer can provide the service, it should be well within the capabilities of a company to pull the resources to provide it in the first place.

In the UK, Netflix is not available but there is a similar service from Love Film. I would remind any such company providing this service that ensuring subtitles/closed captioning is available is a service that can be used by ALL consumers.  For example anybody regardless of hearing ability who might choose to watch streamed content via their computer or smart phone is not going to have the same quality audio that can be provided via TV. In addition the environment that they are in when watching streamed content might not be quiet! Or they might have to use headphones – having subtitles available would ensure nothing would be missed by anyone. It’s that simple.