A direct response from Netflix regarding audio description on streaming content

Hi all,

Thank you for sharing additional information with Tracy and I, we appreciate the advice and recommendations you’re sending along. It’s helpful to learn the choices that are exist and are evolving in the marketplace. As a note, I’m sure you’re aware that creating the audio descriptive files rests with the creators of the content – usually studios or networks, potentially independent producers. The content creators hold the copyright to the underlying material and therefore the right to create AD, and Netflix simply licenses their content, so they would need to take the initiative to create and then also license audio description for Netflix to then offer it to subscribers.
We appreciate the continued information, and are working to stay informed, and we hope you continue to work with the studios and content owners to create audio description for all content they are licensing in the online marketplace, whether for streaming or download. Thanks again,
Elizabeth Bradley
And below is just a snippet of negotiation we have tried to make with Netflix. I won’t even include the responses from the audio description companies in the United States because the post would be really huge!
On Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 7:45 AM, Paton, John RNIB wrote:

Thanks Robert,

Dear Tracy,

I’m John Paton and I work in the Digital Media and Culture team at RNIB, the largest UK charity for blind and partially sighted people. One of my areas of work is to try to encourage audio description on Video on Demand services such as Netflix. To that end we work with service providers and participate in the ATVOD (Authority for TV on Demand) access services working party. Despite being a UK regulatory body ATVOD has no power to compel and so rather than informing regulation the discussion revolves around sharing best practice and learning opportunities to ensure that making content accessible is as unburdensome as possible for service providers.

We would be very interested in having a discussion with Netflix about your plans for providing audio description on your service and would be happy to sign an NDA to ensure confidentiality. We have worked under NDA with companies very successfully in the past and that was how we managed to bring the Panasonic Voice Guidance feature and TVonics talking features to market alongside the respective industry partners greatly improving the accessibility of the television market in the UK. We are also keen to advertise accessible solutions to our members through our magazine, website, social media channels and radio station and I look forward to being able to announce the first fully accessible non-catchup Video on Demand service.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

John Paton

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