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Meeting Netflix Standards for Captions and Subtitles (The Basics)


Apr 23, 2018

Meeting Netflix Standards for Captions and Subtitles (The Basics)

RevBlogMeeting Netflix Standards for Captions and Subtitles (The Basics)

Netflix has increasingly high standards when it comes to subtitles and closed captions. Today, localization is important to ensuring that viewers are not only able to understand the content they view, but also read the text naturally in their own language. As an added measure, Netflix has put a considerable amount of research into the timing of captions and audio to improve readability for all.


These efforts began back in 2012 when Netflix and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) teamed up to guarantee closed captions in 100 percent of Netflix streaming content by 2014. This is just one example of how the company is working to provide the best viewing experience to hard-of-hearing individuals as well as those who just want to enjoy content in a livelier environment. According to Netflix, “We need to change the way we think about subtitles and closed captions. They are no longer secondary assets in a world where content knows no physical borders.”

Netflix fact: Subscribers watch ~1 billion hours of programming per week.

Netflix Movie Hosting and Requirements

Getting your content hosted on Netflix is no easy feat. Netflix has a database of content that’s being considered for the platform, but they are also deciding which pieces are added to that database. To put your film in the running, it’s best to go through a distributor who can then leverage connections within the company. If your piece is selected for the Netflix database, the next step is marketing. The more popular a movie is, the more likely it is to be chosen. Higher demand will also drive higher licensing fees, which works in your favor. If you’re successful, you’ll need to follow the Netflix Time Text Style Guide for any timed text. This will provide you with information such as file format, frame gap requirements and more.

The Basics of Submitting Content for Hosting on Netflix

Free or paid? Paid. Netflix “strongly encourages” content to go through Netflix Preferred Vendors (NPVs) for assets such as subtitles and closed captioning.
Type of content: TV Shows, Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Feature Films (all without commercials or ads).
Netflix audience: Over 117 million memberships in 190 Countries.
Caption file format: TTML (valid extensions are .dfxp and .xml), SCC (English, Latin American Spanish, Canadian French ONLY).

Netflix fact: The biggest streaming day of the year is January 1st.

Meeting Netflix Standards for Captions and Subtitles

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