By: Kevin Shaw, founder, Zagga Entertainment
Remember the scene in Moulin Rouge where Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman sing to each other on top of the elephant? Or that amazing chase sequence through the subway in the Italian Job? Or how about the upside down kiss in the first Spiderman movie?
Everyone, regardless of visual ability, loves a good story. Movies and TV make up an important part of the cultural experience we all share. It’s these stories that unite us with our families, at work or with our friends. For a long time, I found myself in many awkward conversations where friends and colleagues would rave and laugh about a particular movie or show I had yet to see. There was no described video for the show in question, and I thought I’d catch up later or find some way to change the topic of conversation.
A few years ago, I stood in front of a shelf of shrink-wrapped DVDs. I wanted to catch up on a bunch of movies and TV shows I had purchased, but never got around to watching. I had to ask myself “How come I haven’t watched ANY of these movies?”
I didn’t want to have to go through the frustrating process of navigating on screen menus. So, I went online to see if I could find any described video from the usual providers like Netflix or iTunes. I was shocked to find no audio-described movies and that’s when it hit me…. I should build a “Netflix for the blind” with described video.
I founded Zagga Entertainment shortly after this experience. We’re a Toronto-based startup that is creating a “Netflix for the blind” featuring movies and TV shows with described video.
Photo: Kevin Shaw of Zagga Entertainment at his computer.
The concept is simple: You pay a monthly subscription fee and have all-you-can-eat access to described movies and TV through a fully accessible website and mobile app. Catch up on The Big Bang Theory, 24, finally watch Breaking Bad or, go retro and watch the Back to the Future trilogy as part of a Sunday afternoon movie marathon. Share these experiences with a friend, a date or your family.
We built a prototype of our website and are talking with the major studios about licensing described movies and TV shows. We’re very grateful to CNIB for their help as well as the Ryerson Digital media Zone for their support of our company.
Right now, we are crowd funding through Indiegogo to create the full version of our website and mobile app. You can visit our campaign page here and contribute early to receive a subscription to the service as well as nifty gifts for your contribution. The campaign ends on June 14, 2014.
We’re looking forward to launching the service later this year with great content and a fully accessible experience from start to finish. It’s time we let the world know we need Zagga Entertainment so everyone can share these stories. Check us out and help us spread the word.