Hulu reaches closed captioning settlement

One of the nation’s largest subscription video on-demand services will soon make all of its full-length English and Spanish content fully accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Hulu announced the agreement September 6 with the National Association of the Deaf, which was represented in the negotiations by the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center.

“Hulu is an integral part of the sea-change in how consumers watch TV. Captioning is another type of control consumers can — rightfully — expect and enjoy. Captioning is part of the way we watch now,” DREDF Directing Attorney Arlene Mayerson said in a news release. “Hulu’s actions and commitment to making its media accessible to deaf and hard of hearing subscribers demonstrates that it is possible to fully integrate the deaf and hard of hearing community into the online entertainment marketplace.”

Further, as specified in the agreement, Hulu’s captioning must meet Federal Communications Commission standards for “completeness, accuracy, synchronicity, and placement.”

Industry leader Netflix previously agreed to a two-year timetable to implement closed captioning in almost all of its content by 2014.

In recent years, the NAD has also reached similar settlements with Amazon, AMC and GoGo, among other companies.

“With Hulu’s agreement, Hulu will be fully accessible to all deaf and hard of hearing viewers,” said Howard Rosenblum, CEO of the NAD, in the news release. “The NAD appreciates all that Hulu is doing to ensure that its programming is inclusive for all.”