Netflix introduces audio descriptions for visually impaired

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Netflix Corporate Headquarters

Netflix corporate headquarter (Photo: Courtesy Netflix)

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NEW YORK  — Visually impaired audiences will soon be able to hear what scenes look like on Netflix shows like ‘House of Cards.’

The streaming video platform launched a new audio descriptions feature beginning with episodes of its original series ‘Daredevil’ on Thursday. The main character of the show is a blind lawyer who is secretly a superhero.

When Netflix audio descriptions are turned on, a narrator explains what’s happening on screen.

For example, during the opening credits of ‘Daredevil,’ a male voice says: “In the middle of flickering pages of action comics, appears the logo ‘Marvel’ in bold letters.”

Once the show begins, the same voice reports on the commotion of a traffic accident, and a man rushing through a crowd to reach an injured boy with wounds on his head.

Facial expressions, costumes, and changes in settings will also be included in narration tracks, according to Tracy Wright, director of content operations at Netflix, writing in a company blog post.

She says the feature will be added to “major Netflix original series,” including current and past seasons of ‘House of Cards,’ ‘Orange is the New Black,’ ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,’ and ‘Marco Polo.’

Wright added that Netflix is also working with external studios to provide audio descriptions for other shows and movies, and translating narrations into other languages.

Four in ten American households with traditional television now also subscribe to some form of streaming service like Netflix or Amazon, according to a new Nielsen report on audience behaviors.

Some families subscribe to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus, but most have just one of the services: Netflix. In fact, Netflix is in 36% of all American TV households, while Amazon is in 13% and Hulu Plus is in 6.5%, according to Nielsen.

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