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Netflix and Other Described Programming Oriented Toward Children

Netflix with Care Bears
Audio Description on Netflix
Updated 9-14-17

In April 2015 the subscription video streaming service Netflix began offering audio description for many of its offerings.  Today, there are 500 or so such programs on Netflix, with a commitment by Netflix to audio describe every new original series they create.  The specific topic on this page is their commitment to audio description for children.  As a point of interest, more than a third of Netflix audio described shows are oriented to children under 13.

As of mid-2017, within that one-third-plus, Netflix offers over 90 animated programs age-appropriate for children under 13, many of them for ages 0-6.  Some are series, some are movies.  To aid parents in selecting appropriate programming, we are including the Netflix-suggested ratings for all programs in our own listing.  To find appropriate described shows, you can visit our Netflix Audio Described Programs page and do a search (generally by clicking Ctrl-F) for "animated," and all the animated show names will be highlighted, along with the age range.  You can also search for rating terms like G, PG, Y7, and TV-Y (e.g., "rated g".)

Just as interesting is Netflix's future interest in children's programming.  An April 2016 Seeking Alpha opinion piece on Netflix stated:

Netflix ... is spending a significant part of its content budget on movies and programs geared toward kids' entertainment. Already it has by far the biggest content budget, adding up to $5 billion, which is half of total box-office revenue. By allocating a higher proportion of the budget to content aimed at a younger audience, the firm hopes to create a long-term fan base. Back in January, Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix gave a hint about this when he stated that the firm would be "doubling down on kids and families."  Of the 70 "global originals" which the firm hopes to release this year, 20 are made for kids.  (Rohit Chhatwal, 12-Apr-2016))

Disney on NetflixThe article goes on to mention that Netflix's "close competitor HBO also has moved in this space in January 2016 when new episodes of "Sesame Street" were premiered on the channel."  However, HBO has not indicated any commitment yet to audio describing any of its programming.

In addition, as of September 2016 Netflix is the exclusive pay-TV outlet for Disney films (which includes Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar films).  The deal extends to some previous Disney releases.  Since every major Disney release has audio description, this is also excellent news for children with visual impairments.  (A large number of older Disney films were released in May-June 2017.)

Rated G or PGParents seeking additional guidance on appropriate audio described offerings for their children should consult our listing of DVDs Rated G or PG With Audio Description.  Our Television page will guide you to children's offerings on the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and The Cartoon Network*; but you'll be mostly on your own to find programming on PBS, since they refuse to list which shows they describe.  You should also be aware that four television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and The CW*) offer audio described children's programming on Saturday mornings.  You can find the specifics on our Television Schedule page, and you can read about two of the series at Litton Weekend Adventure (for ABC) and CBS Dream Team

(* The Cartoon Network and The CW have never been legally required to offer audio description, so you may or may not find their description available to you.)