Netflix to subtitle or dub in Catalan 70 titles per year

Productions such as Adam Sandler’s movie ‘Hustle’ and ‘Emily in Paris’ series will have a Catalan version

A tablet showing the logo of Netflix (by Violeta Gumà)
A tablet showing the logo of Netflix (by Violeta Gumà) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 15, 2022 10:25 AM

Streaming platform Netflix will dub and subtitle in the Catalan language up to 70 international films and series every year. The Catalan language option will be available in some of the newest blockbusters released by the platform such as Adam Sandler’s movie 'Hustle' and the second season of 'Emily in Paris' TV show. 

Others will include the latest film directed by Guillermo del Toro, 'Pinocchio', and productions such as 'The Mother', 'Sandman' and 'Garra.'

The video streaming service will increase by up to 200 hours their international content catalog subtitled in Catalan, and add 20 hours to dubbed children’s content. 

The platform will progressively upload the videos and TV shows, so it will not be until the end of 2022 that the 70 pieces for this year will be available in the Catalan language. 

Netflix’s announcement "is really good news," Catalan culture minister Natàlia Garriga said. Her office has been engaging in talks with the platform for months in order to persuade them to boost their content translated into Catalan. 

Yet, "it is just a first step," Garriga added. The politician aims for the service to add more items in the Catalan language as some cinema ‘majors’ and TV3 public broadcaster already have some content dubbed, that is, the product already exists in some cases. 

"It is a priority to have a bigger catalog available in the Catalan language catalog," Garriga told reporters. 

Netflix is the first platform to increase the amount of content available in Catalan but "other streaming services are favorable to add the language in a way or another," the culture minister said.

Until now, the audiovisual content in the Catalan language on Netflix was almost nonexistent as the platform offered only 0.5% of its catalog in the language, as shown by a study published on February 1 by the Audiovisual Council of Catalonia (CAC).

At the time of the report, there were only 30 titles available on Netflix that had the Catalan language as an option for audio or subtitles, CAC’s analysis stated. Two years ago, in 2020, this figure was 0.3% as there were only nine pieces available in Catalan.

The decision to add subtitles and to dub some movies and series in the Catalan language will be paid in full by the streaming service. The same deal including 70 titles per year applies to Basque and Galician, the other two minority languages official in some territories across Spain. 

Spanish audiovisual law 

The announcement by Netflix has arrived in the middle of a controversy between the Spanish government and other territorial executives because of the audiovisual law.

One of the largest hurdles the Spanish government had to overcome to see their planned 2022 budget approved was the agreement with the largest Catalan pro-independence party in the Spanish Congress, Esquerra Republicana.

On November 23, 2021 the two sides formalised a deal that will see a 6% quota altogether for Catalan, Basque and Galician language programming on streaming platforms such as Netflix - yet, the law including this agreement is yet to be approved.

In addition, there will be an extra €10.5 million designated to promote the creation of audiovisual content in minority languages spoken in Spain: Catalan, Basque and Galician.

Specifically, the audiovisual law will force companies such as Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime to offer European productions in 30% of their content. Out of these, half of it has to be in languages spoken in Spain – this is 15% of the total, of which 40% has to be in Catalan, Basque or Galician. That is 6% of all films and series and 20% of the European content.

Filling the Sink podcast

Catalan is a vibrant, living language with 10 million speakers and a history stretching back to the Middle Ages, but statistics show a decline in use and language activists say it needs more protection, not least in classrooms and on online streaming platforms. 

Press play below to listen to the podcast episode released on November 27 or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify.

On the podcast, we also talk about the fact that “on Disney+, you can watch 35 movies in Catalan, and from Catalonia, you can stream 93 movies in Icelandic," as Òscar Escuder, president of Plataforma per la Llengua told Catalan News. 

Icelandic has around 300,000 speakers, but he has "nothing against Icelandic,” he said. “I'm very glad for them that they can watch as many movies as possible," he added.