Hollywood’s highest-profile lobbying group, the Motion Picture Association of America, has announced the addition of a new member: Netflix.
The trade group’s membership includes the major Hollywood studios, including Disney, Paramount, Sony, Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. Netflix is the first Internet streaming service to join.
To regular moviegoers, the MPAA is probably best-known (to the extent it’s known at all) for its occasionally mystifying ratings system, but the group actively lobbies for the studios on a range of issues.
The news underlines the ways in which Netflix is increasingly becoming a part of the Hollywood establishment — or at least, finds its interests aligned with that establishment. (The company recently departed another trade group, the Internet Association.) This comes just a few hours after Netflix scored a record 15 Oscar nominations, including its first for Best Picture.
In fact, Politico (which first broke the news) notes that Netflix and Amazon have already been pushing alongside MPAA members for anti-piracy measures, as part of the the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment.
One Netflix practice that remains controversial is its resistance to windowing — in other words, giving its films an exclusive theatrical release before making them available for streaming. While the company has softened its stance somewhat, allowing “Roma” and other titles to have a brief period of theatrical exclusivity, this wasn’t enough for the major theater chains, which refused to show the films. However, the MPAA mostly stays out of those discussions.
“On behalf of the MPAA and its member companies, I am delighted to welcome Netflix as a partner,” said MPAA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin in a statement. “All of our members are committed to pushing the film and television industry forward, in both how we tell stories and how we reach audiences. Adding Netflix will allow us to even more effectively advocate for the global community of creative storytellers, and I look forward to seeing what we can all achieve together.”
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