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Coda Won Best Picture- But Disabled People Can’t Watch It

March 29, 2022

I was thrilled to wake up yesterday to the news that Coda won three Oscars on Sunday night. A movie about a Deaf family, starring mostly Deaf actors, winning Best Picture is a definite and thrilling moment of progress for Deaf people, Disabled people, diversity and media representation.

Troy Katsur, the first Deaf man to ever win an Oscar, was right to dedicate his Best Supporting Actor win to the Deaf and Disabled communities.

In my excitement, I went to see how I could watch Coda online. That’s where I found a problem in this massive moment of progress. Coda is only available to watch on AppleTV+. A paid subscription service costing £5 a month.

I don’t mean to discriminate but a large percentage of the audience for most movies about disability are disabled people or carers themselves. Disabled people and carers can rarely spare the price of a subscription service such as AppleTv+. With the general cost of living rising, many of them will be able to find a much better use for £5 a month. Some may be lucky enough to be able to borrow accounts from family members to watch movies, but that percentage is likely to be very small. Yes, there is a free trial period, but how many people remember to cancel those?

The point is that especially now that Coda has had such high profile Awards success, it should be made available to a free streaming service by Apple, or made available for free on AppleTV+, at least for a limited but reasonable period of time, maybe a month. Even better, it could be shown on a terrestrial channel so that people could record it and watch it at their convenience.

As one reader told me earlier today, by leaving Coda to only be available on Apple TV, TV and streaming services are actually discriminating against a lot of the film’s probable target audience. They added “This is the first film in AGES that I’ve been super excited about seeing and WE can’t……

So this is a call to anyone who agrees with me to do everything possible to get Coda made available for free so that it can have the audience it so clearly deserves and the target audience it wants. I’ll happily sign petitions to TV channels!


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