Netflix Responds to ‘Daredevil’ Backlash With Special Audio Feature for Blind Fans

Streaming service will also add feature to “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Marco Polo” on the heels of online petition demanding more accessibility features

Netflix has seen to it that blind subscribers can enjoy its new superhero series “Daredevil.”

The streaming video giant announced Tuesday that it is adding an audio description feature to “Daredevil.” The feature is a “a narration track that describes what is happening on-screen, including physical actions, facial expressions, costumes, settings and scene changes,” Netflix said in a blog post Tuesday.

Netflix will add the feature to more titles, including “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black” and “Marco Polo” in the coming weeks. However, there’s a particular resonance to first adding the feature to “Daredevil,” which revolves around a superhero who is blind and develops heightened sensory perception in lieu of sight.

The company’s decision comes on the heels of a Change.org petition filed by Arlington, Virginia, resident Ryan Dyck asking that Netflix add accessibility features for the blind and visually impaired to its original content.

In the petition, which as of this writing has amassed more than 3,200 signatures, Dyck singles out “Daredevil.”

“I really like ‘Daredevil,’ which I started watching the same weekend Netflix released it,” the petition reads. “But after I finished the first episode, I realized how unfair it is that blind and visually impaired people aren’t also able to experience this great storytelling about a blind crimefighter, especially when the problem is so easy to fix!”

In Netflix’s blog post, director of content operations Tracy Wright said that the company plans to add the feature not just to its original offerings but to other titles, across “a range of devices.”

“Over time, we expect audio description to be available for major Netflix original series, as well as select other shows and movies,” the post reads. “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.”

“Daredevil,” which premiered April 10 on Netflix, stars “Boardwalk Empire” alum Charlie Cox as the titular superhero.

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