Image courtesy Netflix. Editing by Tom Gardiner.

Now Everyone Can Enjoy “Daredevil”: Netflix Announces Audio Description on Select Titles

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Marvel’s Daredevil has been taking the internet by storm, collecting almost universal accolades everywhere it goes, and deservedly so.  I don’t think it’s hyperbole to call the Netflix show a television masterpiece.  The gritty drama feels more real than most shows with a “normal” premise and every character gets fleshed out to a depth rarely seen in a series, especially one just out of the gate on its freshman run.

But there has been some controversy …

Perhaps you’ve read about how, ironically, the hit show about a blind superhero was lacking the one thing that would allow visually impaired fans to enjoy it: Audio descriptions.  Audio descriptions provide detailed story information in the form of audio summaries usually inserted between lines of dialogue.  This makes a television show or movie something akin to an audio book, allowing anyone to enjoy the story without ever having to see a single frame.

Netflix proved the irony was not lost on them.  Today, the media service announced on their blog the inclusion of audio descriptions in select titles beginning, appropriately enough, with Daredevil.  Soon after will follow descriptions for other popular titles like House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Orange is the New Black; the latter of which will probably have some of the most outrageous descriptions of any show ever.

Here’s the full text from the Netflix Blog site:

Netflix Begins Audio Description for Visually Impaired

At Netflix, we work hard to continually improve the experience for our members when viewing movies and shows on our service, including providing accessibility across devices. Now we’re expanding our accessibility options by adding audio description on select titles, beginning today with our new critically acclaimed series, Marvel’s Daredevil.

Audio description is a narration track that describes what is happening on-screen, including physical actions, facial expressions, costumes, settings and scene changes. Customers can choose audio narration just like choosing the soundtrack in a different language.

In coming weeks, we’ll add more titles, including current and previous seasons of the Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning political thriller House of Cards, Emmy award-winning comedy-drama series Orange is the New Black, as well as Tina Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the epic adventure series Marco Polo.

Netflix is actively committed to increasing the number of audio-visual translations for movies and shows in our English-language catalogues. We are also exploring adding audio description into other languages in the future.

Over time, we expect audio description to be available for major Netflix original series, as well as select other shows and movies. We are working with studios and other content owners to increase the amount of audio description across a range of devices including smart TVs, tablets and smartphones.

Stay tuned.


Tracy Wright is the director of content operations at Netflix.

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Tom Gardiner