Netflix makes history as it becomes the first streaming service to join the MPAA

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix has become the first video streaming service to become a part of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). This is the first time in history that a digital internet-based non-studio company has been include in the 97-year-old Hollywood trade association.

The MPAA represents six legacy Hollywood studios, all of whom endorsed the streaming company’s new membership. Its CEO Charlie Rivkin said in a statement:

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

A large part of Netflix’s inclusion into the MPAA is due to the streaming service accelerating its original content production. Netflix ‘s inclusion into the MPAA can also be attributed to the 15 award nominations it has received, including a best picture nomination for its critically acclaimed movie Roma. The drama led Netflix’s Oscar race with 10 total nominations. Roma was directed by Academy Award-winner Alfonso Cuarón, who won Best Director for Gravity in 2014.

The streaming service has a library consisting of hundreds of unique shows and movies each year in both national and international markets. It has expanded its subscribers to more than 140 million customers.

This shows how mainstream digital media has become. Streaming services are no longer an afterthought in terms of high-quality entertainment.

The MPAA has a long history of lobbying for stronger copyright laws, which is rather unpopular in Silicon Valley, where people consider themselves more open to creative expression.

The six studios that make up the MPAA are Disney, Paramount, Sony, Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros. These are all veteran motion picture studios, hence Netflix’s inclusion in this group of elites is quite an accomplishment.

Netflix and the MPAA’s alliance could also mean an end to piracy as both organizations have been strong advocates for anti-piracy regulations. The MPAA has worked with both Netflix and Amazon for the past two years on this fight, resulting in the creation of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which is focused on protecting earned revenue from copyrighted material.

The MPAA can likely help Netflix reach the Chinese market. Netflix is currently unavailable in China, but the MPAA has major influence and has long lobbied for expanding the number of Hollywood films available in the country. Right now, just 34 foreign films are allowed to be released in China each year in order to keep their own film industry strong.

Netflix has found it impossible to enter China, as they have also placed strict rules on imported digital content. Currently, China allows only 30% of Western content.

Netflix will benefit greatly from a collaboration with the MPAA as the cost of piracy to Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming platforms will top $50 billion between 2016 and 2022, according to new research released Monday. It is estimated that the Asia-Pacific region will lose the most from online piracy. 

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