How to Meet Netflix Captioning and Subtitle Requirements

RevBlogResourcesHow to Meet Netflix Captioning and Subtitle Requirements

Closed Captioning and Asset Quality

Netflix has increasingly high standards when it comes to subtitles (language translations) and closed captions (timed text). Localization has become imperative to ensure that viewers are not only able to understand the content but are able to read the text naturally in their own language. A considerable amount of research has also gone into the timing of the text to ensure readability.

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

In 2012, Netflix and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) teamed up to guarantee closed captions in 100% of Netflix streaming content by 2014. This is 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.”

Video 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 Netflix is 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 Timed Text Style Guide for any timed text. This will provide you with information such as file format, frame gap requirements and more.

Free or paid?

Paid. Netflix “strongly encourages” content to go through Netflix Preferred Vendors (NPVs) for assets such as subtitles and closed captioning.

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

Type of content

TV shows, original series, movies, documentaries, feature films (all without commercials or ads)

Caption file format

    • TTML (valid extensions are .dfxp and .xml)
    • SCC (English, Latin American Spanish, and Canadian French only)

How to Upload Captions to Netflix

STEP 1: Review the Full Technical Specification for Licensed Content

STEP 2: Use Netflix’s Preferred Vendor List to find appropriate vendors to assist in content preparation and QC (quality control) for closed captioning and subtitles

STEP 3: Utilize the Technological Resources and Troubleshooting tabs in the Partner Help Center to remedy any unforeseen issues

STEP 4: Ensure all requirements are met and use Time Text Style Guide for an optimal compliance check

STEP 5: Upload your asset and confirm that no errors are present within the Netflix platform