Amazon already provides captioning for each and every video you can stream with Amazon Prime, making shows like Transparent and Red Oaks more accessible to people who are deaf or have difficulty hearing. But under a new agreement reached with the National Association of the Deaf, Amazon now says it will go through its back catalog of shows and movies that consumers can rent / purchase outside of Prime to make sure those offer captioning, too. That's a pretty deep selection of content, but NAD says Amazon has already brought captions to a "vast majority" of titles. Still, there's work to be done. "The agreement will add captions to titles that haven’t been provided by content owners and will result in more than 190,000 titles made available with closed captions in Amazon’s catalog," NAD said in a press release.
To start, Amazon will focus on videos that customers have watched recently. "Amazon has already ensured that captions are available on over 85 percent of its video content that has been viewed more than 10 times in the past 90 days. By December 31st, 2015, Amazon will caption at least 90 percent of such video content, and by December 31st, 2016, Amazon will caption 100% of that content."
So come the end of next year, there will still be some holes here and there. But NAD seems confident that this deal will result in Amazon making almost every show or movie you buy or rent accessible to people who're deaf and hard of hearing. "This is an enormous step in making online entertainment accessible to the 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States alone," said NAD CEO Howard Rosenblum. Reaching a deal with Amazon apparently went much smoother compared to when NAD had to sue Netflix for that streaming service to provide captions across all of its films and TV shows. NAD has also sued Harvard and MIT, accusing both of failing to provide adequate captions for online courses.