Netflix CEO really doesn’t care about subtitles/captioning

I’m sickened at Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings’ attitude towards subtitles and captioning for their portfolio of  online movies that can be instantly watched.  He claims that it’s too difficult and the technology isn’t here which is the furthest thing from the truth.  I’ve been faithful Netflix customer for years and have submitted numerous requests to Netflix customer support pushing for subtitles and captions to be offered as an option.   From the Netflix shareholders meeting, it’s apparent that Netflix has no plans to do this and doesn’t care much for the idea that there are many customers who would benefit from the subtitles or captions.

Below is excerpt from:

http://willworkforjustice.blogspot.com/2009/05/netflixs-annual-shareholder-meeting.html

—————

….I then mentioned Netflix’s failure to add captions/subtitles to its online streaming videos. Netflix’s “instant play” option doesn’t include captions, making its online video option unusable for many users. As a result of not offering captions, Netflix is alienating its hearing-impaired, deaf, and senior citizen customers. According to some estimates, there are 34 million hearing-impaired persons in the United States. One would think Netflix would think better than to alienate such a large customer base.

I asked what Netflix was doing to make its website and online video accessible to everyone. Mr. Hastings said other sites didn’t offer captions, and mentioned hulu.com as one of them. He said as time progresses, captioning technology will become more widespread, and Netflix would then incorporate it into its own technology. He also said that customers can continue to receive DVDs through the mail, and most DVDs contained captions.

Unfortunately for Mr. Hastings, I use hulu.com to watch Simpsons episodes. Except for a few episodes, every Simpsons episode I’ve watched had captions. Obviously, the technology exists to make online video accessible to everyone, so I wasn’t quite ready to let this topic pass. I gave Mr. Hastings another chance to explain how he would make his business accessible to everyone. I mentioned that hulu.com did indeed offer captions, and I said (paraphrased), “It sounds like you’re not planning to do anything to add captions to your site. Am I correct in understanding that you don’t plan on making your online videos accessible to the disabled?” Mr. Hastings said he would check out hulu.com, but essentially agreed that adding captions wasn’t an active agenda item. Now, I don’t want to go Kanye West on anyone, but it didn’t feel like Mr. Hastings or Netflix cares about deaf people.

This entry was posted in Video, Web/Tech. Bookmark the permalink.