Netflix joined the Motion Picture Association of America this past week, as announced by the industry group on January 22:

“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. “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.”

MPAA Welcomes Netflix as New Member

The timing of this move is certainly interesting, to say the least. At first glance, this seems to be perfectly aligned with Netflix’s ascendancy into Oscar stardom last week as well, with the streamer getting its first Best Picture nomination ever for Alfonso Cuarón’s film Roma.

Yet if just reaching some awards prestige and having a big budget to spend across Hollywood was enough to get an organization into the MPAA, you would think Amazon would have already been invited two years ago. After all, at the 2017 Academy Awards that tech giant not only got six nominations for Manchester by the Sea including Best Picture, it won Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay.

I have to wonder if a major factor in the decision to let Netflix join now is a financial one. The MPAA was composed of the “Big Six” studios – 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal, Disney, and Warner Brothers. With the acquisition of Fox by Disney, that leaves the trade group one member short, and more importantly short of one member’s worth of dues. With membership fees reaching up to reported $20M a year, Fox leaving would mean a big shortfall would need filling. Adding Netflix filled in the gap perfectly.

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