Netflix tries to open a place among the giants of American cinema, who will soon have to reconsider the conditions of admission of their films to the Oscars, after the Department of Justice gave the streaming leader unexpected support.
The powerful American Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences, in charge of the prestigious Oscars, confirmed information revealed by the specialized newspaper Variety: received an official warning letter of a possible violation of the right to compete.
“We received a letter from the Ministry of Justice and we have responded appropriately,” he said this week in a statement from the organization. Hollywood, which brings together professionals of the seventh art.
What is the reason for the wrath of American justice? The possible changes of eligibility to the Oscar provided by the Academy to put clubs on the wheel to Netflix.
The winning director of several statuettes Steven Spielberg proposed that the films produced and broadcast by Netflix are no longer eligible for the Oscars … but for the Emmy Awards, which are awarded to American television products.
“If you want to make a television format, you do a TV movie“said the influential director, who also collaborates with Apple TV, the brand's new platform for video transmission to the block, but for the United States justice, such statements could” raise concerns about the right to compete. “
In his letter to the Academy, the division of competence of the Department of Justice, said “worried” for the possible new restrictions, which “could tend to eliminate competition”.
“The Board of directors of the Academy will meet on April 23 for its annual meeting on awards regulations, “during which he will reflect on a possible change,” said the Academy, contacted by AFP, Netflix declined to comment.
“We love cinema. Along with other things we also love: accessibility for people who can not afford an entrance (…); the possibility that everyone will enjoy new releases at the same time; and that the directors have more ways to share their art. These things are not exclusive, “the streaming giant tweeted last month.
The division of competence of the Department of Justice aims to guarantee compliance with liberal economic norms: free trade and freedom of choice for consumers.
Therefore, he has recently opposed, in vain, the acquisition of the Time Warner media giant by the telecommunications group AT & T. According to this official agency, the giant that would result from that merger would stifle competition and increase prices for consumers.
In the case of Netflix, the 'antitrust' division fears that the new restrictions will violate an important antitrust law, the Sherman Act.
The ministry “prefers not to have to intervene through judicial process,” he says. Kerry Fields, professor specializing in business economics at the University of California, USC. The Academy did not want to reveal its response to justice, but according to Kerry Fields, this recommendation “could push her to be a little more cautious.”
The institution has “already many problems“I'm not sure that many of your members want to participate in a legal battle with the Justice Department,” which could be very costly, he adds.
Hollywood feels the threat of Netflix, which won four Oscars in the last ceremony, including three of the majors for the success “Roma” of the Mexican Alfonso Cuarón.
Above all, beyond these awards, there is the question of the battle between the old world and the recent, the traditional film industry and the streaming services. “It's a titanic fight that opposes old formats against recent ones,” Fields describes.
In this duel, the US authorities have chosen their camp, in a somewhat surprising way. “For many young people it is the right decision, but I would have thought that they would be on the side of the industry, “says Fields.
In this battle, Disney has added a new brand to its spectrum: the entertainment giant, which includes Lucasfilm (“Star Wars”) and Marvel (“Avengers”) announced on Thursday the launch of its online video platform, Disney +, in November in the United States. The monthly subscription will cost less than Netflix.