What is Netflix Australia?

Netflix Australia is a subscription video on demand service provider that allows consumers to watch video entertainment online. Key information about this provider includes:

  • Netflix, the parent company of Netflix Australia, operates in over 190 countries around the world, making it one of the largest global online video services.

  • Netflix produces original content in addition to streaming the content of others.

  • Netflix Australia’s content offers a smaller and different variety of content to Netflix in the United States, but still contains thousands of movies and TV shows available to watch instantly on any device that streams Netflix.

  • Subscriptions are monthly and can be cancelled at any time.

How can I join and play videos using Netflix Australia?

To join Netflix Australia, you will need a credit or debit card.

  1. Go to the Netflix Australia website

  2. Select the ‘Join free for a month’ button

  3. Follow the on-screen prompts

Note: If you do not want to be charged for using Netflix Australia, you will need to cancel before the end of your 1-month free trial.

To watch Netflix, you will need a device that is:

  • Connected to the internet

  • Capable of running a web browser or a Netflix app

Devices can include:

  • Smart TV

  • Game console

  • Streaming media player

  • Smartphone or tablet

  • Desktop or laptop computer

Specific information can be found on the Netflix Australia Device page

What accessibility features are common to playing videos online?

There are two main features that support the playback of online videos in an accessible way:

  • Captions: this is the text version of speech and other sound that can be provided on videos. Captions can be either open (which means the captions are always on) or closed (which allows the consumer to turn the captions on or off).

  • Audio description: this is when spoken narration is used to describe visual content. Narration is usually included between bits of dialogue and can be used to describe visual elements such as scenes, settings, actions and costumes.

In addition, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has produced the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to make sure that creators of web and app content can include accessibility features such as captions, audio description and an accessible interface for assistive technology users. A simplified version of this standard is also available.

How accessible is Netflix Australia?

According to research conducted by Curtin University, Perth:

  • Closed captions are available on most videos.

  • Audio description can be found on some videos.

  • The website and apps on devices such as tablets are not entirely WCAG 2.0 compliant, meaning that some users are likely to experience difficulties in finding and playing video content with their assistive technologies.

What tips and tricks can I use to overcome the accessibility barriers on Netflix Australia?

Here are some tips and tricks provided by consumers that have used Netflix Australia to maximise your accessibility:

  • Try a different device: consumers have indicated that some platforms may be easier to use with assistive technologies than others. For example, if you are having difficulty with the website, the app on an Android-based tablet or an iOS device such as an iPad may work better with the device’s built-in accessibility features.

  • Audio description-only link: the web portal has a link that allows you to just view content with audio description. Just log into Netflix Australia, scroll down to the bottom of the webpage and select ‘audio description’.

  • Language icon: to select captions and audio description if available in the web portal, search for the video you would like to play, then select the Language icon in the bottom right corner of the video player. You will then find all the available accessibility features.

  • More audio description on the way: a settlement between Netflix and the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and Netflix in April 2016 has led to Netflix committing to make changes to its USA service which is likely to improve Netflix Australia. Improvements discussed in the settlement consist of better searching options and a significant improvement in available titles, particularly new titles.

Are there more accessible video on demand services available?

There are a number of different subscription video on demand services available to consumers, and these services offer different accessible content. With most services offering some form of free trial, it may be worth testing a service to determine which one works best for you. In addition to this tip sheet, Curtin University has also created tip sheets for Stan, Presto, Quickflix and Foxtel Play.

The video I want to play is not accessible. What can I do?

If you are unable to find or play a video due to accessibility issues, there are a number of steps you can take to voice your concerns. Please refer to the Video on Demand Subscription Services: Accessibility and Your Consumer Rights tip sheet created by Curtin University as part of this series or follow the links in the help section below.

Where can I get additional help and information?

For additional help regarding Netflix Australia, you can go to:

The operation of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network is made possible by funding provided by the Commonwealth of Australia under section 593 of the Telecommunications Act 1997. This funding is recovered from charges on telecommunications carriers.