Marlee Matlin on Closed Caption Fails, Web Video and the Power of a Tweet

Marlee Matlin is tired of waiting for the FCC to provide closed captioning. She's on a campaign to crowdsource subtitles for streaming video so that online entertainment can be enjoyed by all.

When Netflix streamed The Wizard of Oz for its 50th anniversary, Marlee Matlin tuned in to watch with her daughter. As the only deaf performer to win an Academy Award for best actress, Matlin has been one of the foremost advocates of closed captioning and making video entertainment more accessible. Matlin’s acting debut was in a stage version of The Wizard of Oz, yet she couldn’t watch the Netflix stream of the movie. It had no closed captioning.

Mediabistro recently sat down with Matlin, who talked about how she’s teaming up with Viki for the Billion Words March, a campaign to crowdsource subtitles for streaming video. “It’s not just a few people who need this. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of people around the world who are deaf and hard of hearing but who deserve access to entertainment, no matter what language they speak,” she said in a statement announcing the campaign. Viewers can join in the campaign at their site, and on Twitter with #billionwords.

Here, she tells us what she thinks of Netflix now (after the lawsuit), the power of crowdsourcing and how one little tweet can make some major noise.