Stage, Theatre & TV29th April 2014

Viki & Actress Marlee Matlin launch 'Billion Words March'

Viki and Marlee Matlin become partnership champions for complete and accurate closed captions for online TV

by Sarah Lawrencee

Viki, the global TV site powered by fans, yesterday announced the Billion Words March, a global campaign to champion complete and accurate closed captions across online TV shows and movies. To kick off the Billion Words March, Viki partnered with Marlee Matlin, Oscar winner and Emmy-nominated actress who is a long-standing advocate for closed captioning. Together, Viki and Matlin will work to improve closed captioning and increase accessibility for online viewers in all countries and languages

​The Billion Words March follows the February 20, 2014 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate outlining new standards for accuracy, timeliness, and on-screen placement of closed captioning, ensuring full access to television programming for Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. These new quality standards for closed captioning come into effect on April 30, 2013.

“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,” said Marlee Matlin, actress and closed captioning advocate. "I support Viki in this cause because they have a unique crowd-sourced subtitling technology that puts the power of closed captioning TV shows in the hands of everyday people like you and me. We can do this together.”

Deaf since early childhood, Marlee Matlin has been fighting for the past five years to get companies that offer streaming and online video to include closed captioning for the 35 million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing.

"With so much technology out there, there were still holes and people were being left out," Matlin told ABC News. "There's no excuse in this day and age with so much technology out there that's there's not sufficient and 100 percent accurate captions."

Viki invites viewers to join the Billion Words March campaign at and on Twitter via #billionwords. Supporters are also encouraged to caption TV shows and movies on – joining Viki’s avid community in the march to reach a billion words translated on the platform during 2014.

“Our mission at Viki has always been to bring down language barriers that stand between great entertainment and fans everywhere,” said Tammy H. Nam, CMO and General Manager, Viki. “Our amazing community of fans have subtitled 600 million words to date – that’s the equivalent to 50,000 novels – in 200 languages. Our goal is access for all viewers, including hundreds of millions of people who are deaf and hearing impaired worldwide. We can’t reach 1 billion words without the help of viewers everywhere, so we encourage everyone to join the effort.”

Viki is a global TV site with TV shows, movies and other premium content, translated into more than 200 languages by a community of avid fans. With 30 million viewers each month and over 600 million words translated, Viki uniquely brings global prime-time entertainment to new audiences and unlocks new markets and revenue opportunities for content owners. Viki was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer 2014 and was acquired by Japanese internet services giant Rakuten in September 2013. The company has offices in San Francisco, Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo.

About Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin is an Academy Award winning actress, TV star and author, best known for her breakout role in “Children of a Lesser God” for which she received an Oscar and Golden Globe.  She also spent seven years on the award winning drama “The West Wing.” In 2011, Marlee joined the cast of the Peabody Award winning ABC Family series, “Switched at Birth.” Marlee has also starred on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and was a finalist on “Celebrity Apprentice,” raising a record $1 million for charity in one day.

Throughout the years, Marlee has helped raise awareness for better hearing health for millions of deaf and hard of hearing children and adults in developing countries, supporting the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Marlee currently serves as a National Celebrity Spokesperson for The American Red Cross and the National Association for the Deaf and was instrumental in getting federal legislation passed in support of Closed Captioning, both on broadcast television and broadband, as well as Text to 911 Emergency services.

Article by Sarah Lawrencee

posted in Entertainment / Stage, Theatre & TV

29th April 2014