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Netflix Joins the Motion Picture Association of America

UPDATED WASHINGTON — Netflix has joined the Motion Picture Association of America, a move that reflects its evolution as a major player in the movie business.

The MPAA currently has six major studios as members, and it collected about $38 million in membership dues in 2017, according to its most recent filing with the IRS. But it faces the loss of one of the legacy studio members, Twentieth Century Fox, after the merger of many of its assets with Disney is completed.

“On behalf of the MPAA and its member companies, I am delighted to welcome Netflix as a partner,” MPAA chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin said 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.”

Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, said, “Joining the Motion Picture Association further exemplifies our commitment to ensuring the vibrancy of these creative industries and the many talented people who work in them all over the world.”

The streaming giant received its first best picture Oscar nomination on Tuesday for “Roma.”

Netflix would be the first internet company, with its origins in Silicon Valley, to join the MPAA.

With the growth of streaming services and other content businesses, the MPAA has in recent years faced questions of whether it should expand its membership. According to sources, there has been some disagreement among the board members as to whether to take such a step.

While the tech industry has often been at odds with the MPAA on issues like copyright and trade, their sentiments could start to align as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and Apple make greater investments in content, and as major media companies The Walt Disney Co., WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal prepare to launch their own subscription streaming services.

As it has expanded production, Netflix has found many of its policy concerns in sync with those of other content firms.

In 2017, Netflix and Amazon joined with studios in the formation of a global anti-piracy coalition, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment. The group has pursued legal action against piracy sites.

It recently left another trade association, the Internet Association, which represents many tech giants like Google, Amazon, Snap and Facebook. Netflix had been a champion for the FCC to pass a robust set of net neutrality rules in 2015, but those were overturned when Republicans gained control of the commission two years later. The MPAA has largely stayed out of the net neutrality debate.

The MPAA reported total revenue of $71.7 million in 2017, the bulk of it collected through membership dues, film rating service fees and title registration. It ended the year with a $4.4 million surplus.

The amount it has collected in membership dues has dropped in recent years, from about $65 million in 2014 and 2015, to $38 million in the most recent year, according to the IRS filings.

 

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