Netflix Gets Serious About Closed Captioning

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Netflix now provides content with captions or subtitles for more than 80 percent of the hours streamed in the U.S. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that 80+ percent of Netflix’s streaming content has captions, but that of all the hours of streaming content watched in the U.S., over 80 percent of it was captioned in some way.

This is a significant improvement, considering that captions were only present on 40 percent of hours streamed in June, and 60 percent in November. Netflix is also pushing content providers to offer up already-captioned content, while authoring subtitles for content that doesn’t already have them, according to this blog post.

But the company warns, that final 20 percent won’t be completed as quickly as the rest. This is because it’s mostly content that is rarely watched, so even if Netflix adds captions at a crazy rate, the metric itself will take some time to catch up.

Back in June, Netflix was sued by the National Association of the Deaf for not providing captions for most of its streaming content. If you’ll notice, that’s around the same time that Netflix picked up the pace to now double the number of hours streamed with captions.

If you’re like me and watch almost all of your Netflix streaming TV/movies on a laptop, captioning isn’t just helpful, it’s necessary. Those little speakers don’t help much at all when I need to pick up every little detail in Battlestar Galactica and Lost, so we’re glad to see Netflix keep up the pace.