The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has been protecting the interests of Hollywood since its formation in 1922.
It generates most of its revenue from contributions by the six major Hollywood studios – Disney, Paramount, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros.
But now, in a historic move, a significant new member has joined the movie and TV show trade association.
“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.”
The addition of Netflix to the MPAA fold doesn’t come as a complete surprise.
As reported in 2018, the MPAA faces a shrinking budget following Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox. Despite reporting revenues of $57m (including studio contributions of almost $50m) in its latest public filings, that figure was down from $73 million in the previous year.
Disney previously promised to pay Fox’s MPAA contributions for a year after the finalization of the deal but that still had the potential to leave the MPAA down one-sixth in membership dues. Presuming that the streaming service will pay an equal share, Netflix’s membership of the trade group should go a long way to filling the Fox-shaped hole in its budget.
The addition of Netflix to the MPAA is groundbreaking on a few fronts.
Perhaps most significantly, Netflix isn’t a Hollywood studio, so its membership breaks with almost a century of tradition. And, of course, this is the first time that a dedicated streaming service has become so closely aligned with the interests of the 97-year-old organization.
“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,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer.
“We look forward to supporting the association team and their important efforts.”
While Netflix settles in as the MPAA’s newest member, the streaming service is no stranger to working with the major Hollywood studios in respect of content protection.
In 2017, Netflix was revealed as one of the founding members of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a global anti-piracy group featuring the studios of the MPAA and dozens of other companies. As a key member, Netflix was granted full voting rights on ACE business, including the approval of initiatives and public policy, anti-piracy strategy, budget-related matters, plus approval of legal action.
If the MPAA is looking to expand further still, it’s possible that Amazon could yet join the fold. Not only is Amazon a founding member of ACE, but the company was also touted as a potential new MPAA member during 2018
Amazon, however, is still a member of the Internet Association, a pro-tech group organization that Netflix parted company with recently, just in advance of joining the MPAA.