Netflix is in talks to join the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Politico is reporting. This trade association currently represents six major Hollywood studios: Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, and Walt Disney Studios. If the streaming service joins the line-up, it will mark the first internet-based service to ever be added to the long-revered group. This is especially notable because one of the primary purposes of the association is to crack down on copyright violations and piracy — something that has caused tension between newer technologies and more traditional media.
The MPAA has often argued that internet-based services do not do their due diligence when it comes to putting a stop to illegal streaming and downloading. However, Netflix has advocated for anti-piracy laws alongside other internet platforms such as Amazon. The two services have joined a coalition of media companies called the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, an organization that advocate for these policies. While Netflix originally joined the Internet Association in 2013 — to fight for things like net neutrality, they left the group this month. It’s currently unknown if that has anything to do with their potential MPAA membership.
It’s can’t be denied that the success of Netflix has reached the likes of the legacy studios. The streaming service currently boasts 140 million paid subscribers worldwide, and has been churning out more and more successful original content as time goes on. Netflix produces hundreds of movies and television series per year, and the company doesn’t appear to have any plans to slow down anytime soon. Netflix joining the current coalition would certainly reflect the current times, and may bring the association more into the modern age, where binge-watchable shows and movies can be quickly and easily accessed from home.
Netflix scoring a spot in the MPAA is now even more of a possibility with CEO Charles Rivkin at the helm. Rivkin took over the MPAA in September of 2017, and his resume is extensive — Rivkin served as ambassador to France and Monaco and as assistant secretary of state under President Barack Obama. He is also currently on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN) for the Trump administration. In an interview with Screen Daily last year, Rivkin seemed to think that there could be room for both the traditional movie-going experience and for internet-based streaming services.
“Audiences are flocking to theatres to see these imaginative films with all-star casts that celebrate diversity and inclusion,” said Rivkin. “This is happening simultaneously with the growth of additional content platforms and billions of dollars invested in creative programming. More than 480 scripted television programmes were produced in 2017. The industry is giving consumers more choices than ever before. We’re navigating this dynamic environment by helping the entire creative economy thrive through effective advocacy on behalf of creators everywhere.”