How inclusive is the entertainment industry?

How inclusive is the entertainment industry?

Let’s talk about something that’s breaking new ground in the entertainment industry – it isn’t the latest blockbuster or the swanky new cinemas with armchairs, wine coolers and waiters – it’s something far more understated and yet has the capability to change the entire experience of how people enjoy entertainment. It’s digital accessibility. 

Imagine you’re settling down for movie night, lights dimly lit with popcorn and snacks in hand. But there’s a catch: you’re unable to access the movie as easily as other people can. This is a daily reality for the 1.3 billion people who live with a significant disability.

 In our hyper-connected world, entertainment isn’t just a hobby; it’s a way we connect, relax, and escape. But many people with disabilities are unable to easily enjoy entertainment on streaming platforms because the content is inaccessible. This is where digital accessibility comes in – a necessity for every digital streaming platform and an area that every business, of any size, should take seriously. 

Let’s explore how entertainment can turn the spotlight on digital accessibility and how the industry can build accessibility features into their digital platforms for everyone to enjoy – from behind the screens!

6 streaming platforms transforming entertainment 

Streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max are leading the charge in embracing digital accessibility. They’re not just getting the picture; they’re painting a new one, where accessible content takes center stage of their platform, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can enjoy every movie, every video game or tv show there is to offer.

Many of these platforms incorporate accessibility features like audio descriptions for the visually impaired, closed captions for the hearing impaired, and voice control for those with mobility issues. Let’s take a closer look:

  1. Netflix

Netflix has been a leader in incorporating accessibility features. They offer subtitles and closed captions in multiple languages, audio descriptions for visually impaired viewers, and screen reader support. The platform is known for its commitment to making its entire library accessible.

  1. Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video provides a range of accessibility options, including closed captions, audio descriptions, and a screen reader-friendly interface. They’ve also made strides in making their original content accessible.

  1. Disney+

Disney+ has taken significant steps in accessibility, offering robust closed captioning and descriptive audio features. They’ve focused on ensuring their vast library of family-friendly content is accessible to all audiences, including classic Disney movies and new releases.

  1. Hulu

Hulu offers closed captions and subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. They also provide audio descriptions on some of their content, though their library of content with these features isn’t as extensive as some competitors.

  1. HBO Max

HBO Max has worked to improve its accessibility features, providing closed captions and subtitles. They have also started adding audio descriptions to a selection of their titles and are expanding these offerings.

  1. Apple TV+

Apple TV+ stands out with its commitment to accessibility. The service offers subtitles and closed captions, audio descriptions, and voiceover compatibility, aligning with Apple’s overall emphasis on accessibility in its products.

These platforms are improving the user experience for people with disabilities while setting new standards for digital accessibility in the industry. 

Putting accessible content in the spotlight 

How can more digital platforms create more accessible content where designing content for inclusivity isn’t just an afterthought but the star of the show? We’ve seen what the giants are doing,  Let’s take a look in more detail at some of the accessibility features that streaming services can incorporate into their platforms:  

Closed Captions and Subtitles

Users with hearing impairments have expressed how closed captions and subtitles have revolutionized their viewing experience. They can now follow dialogues and storylines without missing out on critical information, enhancing their overall enjoyment of the content.

Audio Descriptions

Viewers who are visually impaired often share heartwarming stories about how audio descriptions have opened up a new world of entertainment for them. These descriptions provide a vivid narrative of visual elements, allowing them to enjoy films and shows in a way that was previously inaccessible.

Screen Reader Compatibility

For individuals with visual impairments, screen reader compatibility is crucial. Users have reported that this feature makes it easier for them to navigate and select content independently, giving them a sense of autonomy in their entertainment choices.

Voice Control and Ease of Navigation

People with mobility or dexterity challenges find voice control and streamlined navigation essential. These features reduce physical barriers, allowing them to enjoy streaming services without assistance.

Customizable Viewing Options

Users with specific viewing needs, like those who require larger text or high-contrast visuals, appreciate customizable options. These features make it easier for them to view content comfortably and for longer periods.

In summary, accessibility features in streaming platforms significantly enhance the viewing experience for users with disabilities. They not only provide equal access to entertainment but also promote a sense of inclusion and independence, which is, after all, a fundamental human right.

The accessible future of streaming services

The future of streaming includes embracing diverse content and building in accessibility features. With exciting advancements in technologies and trends, the way we all consume digital content is poised to change. 

According to Starz CEO Jeffrey Hirsch, by 2030, the streaming experience will be vastly different and characterized by a global marketplace for ‘content without borders’.

What is content without borders?

“Content without borders” in the context of streaming services refers to the idea of making entertainment content universally available, pushing boundaries of geography, language, and culture. This concept ensures that diverse audiences worldwide have access to a wide range of entertainment options, regardless of their location. 

Localization efforts, such as subtitles and dubbing, are integral to this approach, making content relatable and understandable across different cultures and languages.

However, to truly embody the spirit of “content without borders,” digital accessibility must be a core consideration. This involves making streaming platforms accessible to people with disabilities, incorporating robust accessibility features.

Platforms must also navigate the various accessibility laws and regulations across different regions, ensuring that their services are not compliant with relevant legal requirements.  

UserWay: making digital accessibility the star of the show 

UserWay, the global leader in web accessibility, empowers organizations to create digitally inclusive experiences, breaking barriers that users with disabilities face when navigating online spaces. UserWay’s Accessibility Widget offers a wide range of accessibility features from customizable user interface options, adjustments in text size, contrast, and color for better usability. Additionally, UserWay’s attorney-led program provides a unique blend of legal, technical and accessibility expertise so organizations meet compliance standards while offering inclusive viewing experiences. Want to find out more? Book a demo today.


How is the entertainment industry addressing diversity and accessible content?

The entertainment industry, particularly through streaming platforms, is embracing diversity in entertainment and accessible content. They are doing so by incorporating features like closed captions, audio descriptions, and customizable user interfaces to cater to a wider audience.

What role does digital accessibility play in the future of the entertainment industry?

Digital accessibility is key to the future of the entertainment industry, ensuring that all viewers, regardless of their abilities, have equal access to diverse content on streaming services.

How can streaming services contribute to accessibility?

Streaming services can contribute by investing in technologies like voice recognition and compression, ensuring a global reach of diverse content that’s accessible to viewers with disabilities.

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