DOJ Warns Academy That Being An Anti-Streaming Luddite Could Violate Antitrust

from the get-off-my-damn-lawn dept

So roughly a month ago you might recall that Steven Spielberg had a "get off my lawn" moment in demanding that Netflix films be excluded from Oscar contention. The sentiment isn't uncommon among old-school Hollywood types who see traditional film as somehow so sacred that it shouldn't have to change or adapt in the face of technological evolution. It was the same sentiment recently exhibited by the Cannes film festival when they banned Netflix films because Netflix pushed back against absurd French film laws (like the one requiring a 36-month delay between theatrical release and streaming availability).

You'll notice there's never much solid supporting evidence supporting these banning recommendations; just some vague arguments that films from streaming services can't be considered good because these companies push back against traditional and often counterproductive business tactics that haven't aged well in the internet era (like those antiquated release windows). And while Netflix's catalog certainly has its share of duds, there's an ocean of awards for films like Roma that suggest the entire sentiment is little more than old man protectionist nonsense.

Granted shortly after Spielberg's comments about how terrible streaming services were, Spielberg came out in breathless support of Apple's new undercooked Apple+ streaming service, suggesting that perhaps streaming services aren't so bad if Steven's backing them.

Curiously however, Steven's grumpy vision of a streaming-free oscars may not come to fruition. Reports this week surfaced that the Department of Justice has actually told the Academy to tread carefully in terms of excluding streaming services from contention, as they could run afoul of antitrust guidelines:

"According to a letter obtained by Variety, the chief of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, Makan Delrahim, wrote to AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson on March 21 to express concerns that new rules would be written “in a way that tends to suppress competition.”

“In the event that the Academy — an association that includes multiple competitors in its membership — establishes certain eligibility requirements for the Oscars that eliminate competition without procompetitive justification, such conduct may raise antitrust concerns,” Delrahim wrote."

While that's actually makes some since for the DOJ, it's an odd issue to single out given all the other massive monopoly problems facing the US in the wake of years of eroded antitrust enforcement. After all, the DOJ just showed how feckless and toothless US antitrust protections are when it did a face plant in trying to stop AT&T's $86 billion merger with Time Warner, a deal that immediately resulted in significantly higher prices for both consumers and competitors alike.

So while the DOJ is correct in that the barring of Netflix and other streaming platforms from streaming contention is idiotic and anti-competitive, it's an interesting problem to be singling out given how useless and apathetic US antitrust enforcement has been on a wide variety of monopoly problems facing the US tech sector, from the cornering of ad markets to the vertical integration issues caused by telecom giants controlling both the content and the conduit to the home.

Filed Under: academy awards, doj, hollywood, movies, oscars, steven spielberg, streaming
Companies: apple, netflix


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 2:04am

    Nothing like an easy target

    While that's actually makes some since for the DOJ, it's an odd issue to single out given all the other massive monopoly problems facing the US in the wake of years of eroded antitrust enforcement. After all, the DOJ just showed how feckless and toothless US antitrust protections are when it did a face plant in trying to stop AT&T's $86 billion merger with Time Warner, a deal that immediately resulted in significantly higher prices for both consumers and competitors alike.

    Not that odd at all really. Going after an awards group might get those involved rather irritated, but it's not likely to ding anyone's profits so not much worry about a huge blowback. Some wrists might get slapped, some 'we're sorry you feel that way' non-excuses are made, and not much happens beyond that.

    Go after a company for anti-competitive behavior on the other hand and the stakes are much higher, with significant pushback both from the companies and any politicians they may have bought, making for a much more difficult time of it.

    For a cheap, low-risk bit of 'we're doing something!' PR it actually makes perfect sense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 4 Apr 2019 @ 5:28am

      Re: Nothing like an easy target

      "resulted in significantly higher prices"

      Sorry Karl, this is just highly competitive free-market discount reductions at work. The type that Out_Of_Lube enjoys so much.

      "We didn't raise the prices, we lowered the discounts."

      "We didn't move the goal posts. We merely repainted the playing field."

      Remember how in all those merger talks, they promised that "synergy" would allow them to remove or raise the caps on data? They were referring to the price caps. Perhaps you thought they were referring to protecting the ice caps. You really should see your optometrist more often.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 3:52am

    Destroyed world economy - nothing to charge here.

    Faked ownership of homes - nothing to charge here.

    Wells Fargo 1 - we got a $3.75 dollar fine.

    Wells Fargo 2 - they promised they'd stop!

    Wells Fargo 3 - It was just an isolated incident.

    Bribed your kids way into school - BURN THE HERETICS!!!!!!

    Consider being a flailing dinosaur - STRANGER THINGS DESERVES AN OSCAR!!!!!

    Lost track of millions of federal grant items - allowed to retire with benefits.

    Shot a child walking away in the back & got caught trying to cover it up - Did you know there is a war on cops?

    Boiled a mentally ill prisoner to death - well the state didn't charge them why should we?

    YOU PUT FLAVORS IN THE VAPING FLUID!!!!!!!!!!! - Predawn raid.

    Lied about sugar - wha?

    Corrupted the legal process by placing Pai in charge - But they said it was hackers & he gave us these big mugs.

    Millions in taxpayer dollars to buy the silence of sexual assault victims - But congress would be sad if we investigated them.

    I attended a protest during the inaguration - HOLD THEM LIABLE FOR ALL THE DAMAGE, DESPITE NO EVIDENCE THEY DID ANYTHING WRONG AND REASONABLE DOUBT IS NOT A THING!

    My knitting circle went & protested outside of the bank that ripped people off - LAUNCH THE TERRORISM PROBES AND DEEP DIVE THESE ACTIVISTS!!!!!

    4th murder victim found along the border, evidence points to a CBP agent - Hey are there fresh donuts in the break room?

    Several billion taken to do work for government, nothing completed & they need more money - Yeah hand me that glazed one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 4:03am

      Re:

      The "his brother was worse" argument? Seriously?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:17am

        Re: Re:

        People lost their homes, jobs, savings, pensions and we handed the bankers who did it bonuses.
        All of this breathless ZOMG VARSITY BLUES!!!!!!!!!!
        Rich people paid to get their kids into school & talking about jail time and the judges making an example of them.
        1 bank... Abacus, all the time & effort... wasted b/c they trumped up charges to shake down the little community bank while ignoring the loans the bailed out banks made to the CEOs wives.

        They are unable to pursue any case they think might be hard, it might hurt their score & bonuses.
        Justice was never meant to be decided only upon success & to look away as long as possible at those with political clout.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 4:43am

      Re:

      "Consider being a flailing dinosaur - STRANGER THINGS DESERVES AN OSCAR!!!!!"

      Huh, weird how you had to set up that strawman, while there's so many things people are actually saying that you could have used.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Zof (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 7:15am

      Re:

      You missed one. Almost completely ignore NXIVM when it surfaces that they were child trafficking. It's like the Media immediately stopped talking about them when it turned out they were a pedophile ring. WHY?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re:

        source? I've seen the claim that child trafficking was involved, but no article Ive seen seems to source the claim.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          TFG, 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          But James, didn't you see how he said the media isn't talking about it anymore? Clearly the source has been memory-holed, and there's no source anymore because the media is conspiring to not talk about it!

          ...not that I have the first clue what NXIVM is.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 9:09am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Strange how those who most vigorously wag fingers are many times found out to be guilty of the same things.

            Some still believe the pizzagate story while ignoring the Catholic church. Tossing about wild accusations is nothing new but it does seem to getting worse.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            kallethen, 4 Apr 2019 @ 11:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Quick google search reveals that NXIVM is a marketing company that offered personal and professional development seminars, who is in the news for sex-trafficking and such. That same google search pulled up news stories with Times Union, Fox News, and NY Post.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 9:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          and you never will "see" any evidence... we are NXIVM

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 12:03pm

        Re: Except for all that news coverage

        Bro you might want stop with the conspiracy bullshit. Besides we all really know those kids are being held in the basement of The Alamo.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 11:39am

      Re:

      I've been reliably informed that 'whataboutism' is a real thing, not just a made-up bullshit way of easily dismissing claims of hypocrisy, so everything you just listed above is therefore irrelevant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanjiru Hirigawa, 4 Apr 2019 @ 3:57am

    It's like...

    Spielberg and co are afraid of losing or something.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 4:14am

    Granted shortly after Spielberg's comments about how terrible streaming services were, Spielberg came out in breathless support of Apple's new undercooked Apple+ streaming service, suggesting that perhaps streaming services aren't so bad if Steven's b̶a̶c̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶m̶ being paid to shill for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 4:44am

      Re:

      See also: Spielberg apparently believing that Netflix damages the cinematic experience and makes the work somehow less quality, but has no problem with the things he's personally made being on there...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:58am

        Re: Re:

        Spielberg's work is some of the lowest quality out there. And how many times can he rehash the "child hero" trope? Methinks he has some daddy issues.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 4:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Spielberg's work is some of the lowest quality out there."

          No, no. The man, like Lucas, was a brilliant visionary when he was young and hungry.

          And ever since those times he's been coasting on past glories and whining about how the younger generation of filmmakers is trying to do what he did because now that just isn't "playing the game".

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 4 Apr 2019 @ 5:31am

      Re: being paid to shill for them

      Are you perhaps referring to Steven Shillberg?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:28am

      Re:

      Well, Spielberg is doing "Amazing Stories" on AppleTV+. This is a TV series, not a MOVIE. So I don't see it changing anything for him or his opinion.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:37am

        Re: Re:

        But, the service is also making & distributing movies. Including some that would likely be contenders for Oscars. Unless Spielberg tells them they don't count because Apple rather than one of his normal cronies picked up the distribution rights after Sundance...

        Even if he's not being directly hypocritical, he's certainly supporting a services that he's demanding make competing movies to his less competitive just because they picked up the distribution.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:40am

        Re: Re:

        On one hand, what is the difference between serial movies and a TV series, besides episode length? On the other hand, they show movies on TV. So I am going to have to go with TFG's comment below, it's a distribution issue, not a quality issue. Then I also have to agree with this Anonymous Coward's take where if the only theaters that count are ones in LA and those are easily manipulated by the big studios, then what is the value of requiring a theatrical release?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "if the only theaters that count are ones in LA and those are easily manipulated by the big studios, then what is the value of requiring a theatrical release?"

          Academy voters don't have to consider any theatre they can't drive to, and the major studios don't have the movies they rejected for distribution shoved in their face on Oscar night.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            btr1701 (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 11:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Academy voters don't have to consider any theatre they can't drive to

            Why would Academy voters be considering the theaters at all? They vote on the films, not the theaters showing them.

            And they don't even see the films they vote on in theaters in the first place. Most of them watch the movies on discs sent directly to them by the studios.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 12:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Both of these things are true, however I have found that people living in LA tend to be in something of a bubble, both with the quality of the screening experience the average person has access to and the films that are available.

              It wouldn't surprise me if Academy members living there don't even bother looking at the screeners they receive that they haven't heard of due to a local screening.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 4:43am

    I'm still wondering how in the hell being excluded from a well-known bribery system called the "Oscar" ceremony is in any way shape or form "anti-competitive".

    I could understand the DOJ's concerns if such streaming films weren't allowed in theaters or something, but an award show?

    Common sense, please come back!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 4:47am

      Re:

      "I'm still wondering how in the hell being excluded from a well-known bribery system called the "Oscar" ceremony is in any way shape or form "anti-competitive"."

      1. Independent (and the a less extent studio) productions frequently receive widespread success and recognition that they would be unlikely to have if they were not award winners.

      2. Independent productions are more frequently having to turn to services like Netflix for funding and distribution because they can't get traditional deals. These films are often riskier - and therefore more award-worthy - then the assembly line Oscar bait churned out by the major studios.

      No matter how the votes are reached during the ceremony itself, they're clearly trying to lock out competition that may win the awards if counted. Therefore, anti-competitive.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      frank87 (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 4:57am

      Re:

      It's no bribery. It's payment the greatest movie commercial on earth for a service.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 6:21am

      Re:

      I agree, why is the DOJ wasting time and money on something that is not within their purview?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    frank87 (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 4:43am

    Antitrust should be this way more often

    Let competitors organise, then you can force them into competitive behaviour like this If you wait until they are merged into mega corporations, there is nothing that can be done.
    How much easier life would have been for antitrust if Google, Facebook or the cable companies were only examples of many cooperating companies. Cooperating with protocols, not fighting with containers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 5:23am

    "[I]t's an odd issue to single out given all the other massive monopoly problems facing the US in the wake of years of eroded antitrust enforcement."

    Hmm. I wonder if someone in the DOJ is hoping to get some money from the Oscars for dropping this, and/or money from Netflix for pushing forwards with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 4 Apr 2019 @ 5:26am

    It's Political

    It's politically motivated plain and simple.

    The film industry is largly left leaning politically. The current administration leans opposite. This anti-trust threat is more about swiping at political opponents than financial opponents.

    These comments are brought to you by a poster who is overall very conservative, but HATES politicians and politics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 6:23am

      Re: It's Political

      The GOP run DOJ is being petty?
      Say it isn't so!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 6:26am

      Re: It's Political

      I'd love to have you tell us how Roma - the film that's most largely triggered the current anti-Netflix sentiment - is in any way financed or politically opposed to Hollywood outside of the "that's not how we do things" element.

      If you're really not political, you need to stop framing things is partisan political terms like that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 6:37am

        Re: Re: It's Political

        They are not being petty?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 4:35am

          Re: Re: Re: It's Political

          "They are not being petty?"

          Both sides of the aisle will respond to that question with something like: "Outrageous. It's not OUR fault THEY behave like scolded kindergartners! It's all THEIR fault. Why do you hate children? When did you stop beating your wife? Unless I get your lollipop right this minute you're a horrible person!"

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 5:57am

    Netflix is a return to the Westinghouse Era, which had its pros and cons.

    Will YouTube videos also qualify now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PNRCinema (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 6:24am

    The point everyone is missing..

    ...is that Spielberg isn't saying that Netflix needs to be excluded entirely, but that they need to play by the same rules. Netflix has repeatedly shown reluctance to do that. They insist on day-and-date streaming without a theatrical window in most cases. Only because Cuaron insisted on it did "Roma" get a theatrical release, and it was larger than most that Netflix does. Amazon played by the rules at first, which was hugely beneficial to "Manchester By The Sea" but they are starting to slide on that position now. Netflix has been skirting by on the rules with as few screens as possible, and while that sort of sucks, it's what many indies do as well. So that works for qualifying. And any rules change would also affect indies as well, most likely. Netflix also has a nasty habit of badmouthing the theatrical experience, which also doesn't sit well with many filmmakers or film fans, including myself. I love Netflix, but i'd prefer to see a film in a theater any day.

    As far as the DOJ's veiled threat goes, I think they're barking up a barkless tree - Netflix never releases box office numbers, so it's impossible to see how it would financially hurt them; to release such information would undercut their streaming model in a number of ways, I would bet. But the way the letter from the DOJ was worded, they've undercut their own argument - Netfilx does NOT depend on box office profits and technically earns its primary profit on each affected film as a streaming service shoulld - once a month, when subscribers pay their monthly subscription fee. So the DOJ "financially competitive" model suggested in their letter is completely moot, leaving the DOJ with absolutely nothing to stand on. If they try and sue the Academy, they're going to come away with their tails between their legs, wasting taxpayer money with an unwinnable suit, and look like the absolute idiots that they are...

    Bottom line - if it streams, and ONLY streams - it's a TV Movie, not a theatrical film, and thus is an EMMY contender, not an Oscar contender. If they put it in theaters in the qualifying run required by the Academy, it can be an Oscar contender too. It's that simple. It's completely black and white and people are too stubborn, too busy looking for the totally non-existent gray areas, to acknowledge that fact...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 6:35am

      Re: The point everyone is missing..

      "They insist on day-and-date streaming without a theatrical window in most cases"

      ...and? Plenty of Oscar winners have only played in a screen or 2 in LA in order to become eligible for the award. What's with the sudden "wide release" crap? Why does the theatrical window matter if the film has a theatrical release at the same time?

      Also, remember that this is . the doing of the major studios. The reason why Netflix is reluctant to do theatrical screenings is because studios and theatres were boycotting them if they did.

      "Bottom line - if it streams, and ONLY streams - it's a TV Movie, not a theatrical film, and thus is an EMMY contender, not an Oscar contender."

      Therefore, the awards are gamed to favour major studio distribution models, since most independent productions do not have the ability to compete on the same level. Therefore blocking true independents from release if the major studio controlled theatrical distribution network doesn't want the competition.

      Which is exactly what people are saying.

      On the flip side - some TV shows have received theatrical screenings before their TV debut. Are you saying that these should be Oscar nominees, but actual films made for theatrical release shouldn't count because someone didn't want to offer them distribution? What shit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John85851 (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 10:12am

        Re: Re: The point everyone is missing..

        On the flip side - some TV shows have received theatrical screenings before their TV debut.
        Off the top of my head, I can think of three: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Battlestar Galactica (1978), and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008). These were absolutely eligible for Oscars even though they were technically pilot episodes of TV shows. If they were shown on TV, should they not be elgible for an Emmy?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 10:54am

          Re: Re: Re: The point everyone is missing..

          "These were absolutely eligible for Oscars"

          Perhaps, but they weren't serious competitors. Locking out films like Roma is absolutely about locking out serious competitors.

          "If they were shown on TV, should they not be elgible for an Emmy?"

          Since they were made for TV, sure. Spielberg is the one arguing that distribution type should lock films out, not me.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 10:27am

        Re: Re: The point everyone is missing..

        Therefore, the awards are gamed to favour major studio distribution models

        Always have been. Why's it suddenly relevant when Netflix gets involved? Where's the sympathy (and antitrust action) for the actual TV movies that have been passed over for decades?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 10:51am

          Re: Re: Re: The point everyone is missing..

          "Why's it suddenly relevant when Netflix gets involved?"

          Because they're suddenly trying to argue that such movies are not eligible, whereas independent movies that played a couple of screens in LA have always been eligible no matter what happened to their distribution after.

          This is about Hollywood locking out competition for movies not locked into their distribution system.

          "Where's the sympathy (and antitrust action) for the actual TV movies that have been passed over for decades?"

          Were they produced for TV, or merely picked up for them by distribution? There's a difference.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 5:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The point everyone is missing..

            Were they produced for TV, or merely picked up for them by distribution? There's a difference.

            Made-for-TV movies. Why shouldn't they be eligible? Seems like the same thing, the competition gets locked out for bypassing Hollywood.

            Seems a lot like market division from both sides, Oscars and Emmys. Wikipedia says it's illegal in the USA. Not like that stops the cable companies from doing it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 6:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The point everyone is missing..

              Are there still made for TV movies? I haven't watched broadcast TV in a long time.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 12:31am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The point everyone is missing..

                Of course there are. But, there's a massive difference between the "made for TV" movies you're likely thinking of (such as the annual Hallmark Channel movies for Christmas) and the ones Spielberg's attacking (made for theatrical consumption but going to Netflix for a better deal).

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 12:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The point everyone is missing..

              "Made-for-TV movies. Why shouldn't they be eligible?"

              The question posed was about the Emmys, which is specifically for TV content.

              "Seems a lot like market division from both sides, Oscars and Emmys."

              It is, though originally it wasn't for anti-competitive purposes. Originally, the way movies were made for cinema and for TV were very different in a great deal of different ways. TV movies were usually far lower budget, had to pander to the requirements of advertisers, had very different things related to acting styles, production values and so forth. The two were so different, TV content had little chance of competing on the same level so Emmys were created for them. Yes, fear of competition was part of it, but the basic difference between works required different awards.

              The problem is now - the movies they're trying to block off have none of those differences. The only real difference between traditional Oscar contenders and Netflix contenders is how they are being distributed after they have been made. They're saying - choose someone other than our guys to get your movie out to the public and your work won't count. Now, it becomes a potentially illegal move.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 7:29am

      Re: The point everyone is missing..

      "Netflix has repeatedly shown reluctance to do that. They insist on day-and-date streaming without a theatrical window in most cases."

      Funny. That almost sounds like the argument the studios with heavy money invested in regionalization and release windows would use if someone asked them why they felt threatened by Netflix competition.

      Then again, the Academy Awards IS an organization mainly dedicated to keeping the old and new major players in hollywood in the exclusive circle-jerk fraternity club. If it ever had meaning beyond that, that meaning went off to die many years ago.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 7:37am

      Re: The point everyone is missing..

      Netflix has been skirting by on the rules with as few screens as possible

      Considering that the only screens that count are in Los Angeles (except for documentaries, which have a handful of additional locations), I have zero sympathy for you. When they could literally show it on every screen in the entire United States except those in Los Angeles and not qualify, claiming that anyone is "skirting the rules" is just pathetic.

      Netflix also has a nasty habit of badmouthing the theatrical experience

      And the traditional film industry has a nasty habit of badmouthing the home experience. Oh the humanity...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TFG, 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:04am

      Re: The point everyone is missing..

      Bottom line - if it streams, and ONLY streams - it's a TV Movie, not a theatrical film, and thus is an EMMY contender, not an Oscar contender.

      Bottom line, this is a distribution method quibble, which has fuck-all to do with the actual content. There is a valid, logical reason to have separate award ceremonies for actual TV series, as opposed to Movies, as they have different formats, story structures, and methods of creation.

      However, if a movie is created, and is merely released via streaming or on TV, then that is a distribution method quibble only, and there is no valid reason to have it distinct from a theatrical release.

      Disribution method alone is not a valid distinction.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:27am

        Re: Re: The point everyone is missing..

        "Disribution method alone is not a valid distinction."

        Especially today, where there's not necessarily any commonality between means of distribution and means of production. 30 years ago, the distinction was important - TV movies were rushed, rather low budget productions with criteria (e.g. creating lulls/cliffhangers for ad breaks) that would not fit theatrical screening. While movies intended for the direct to video market would often be addressing a different audience to the theatrical market altogether.

        But, today? It's quite easy - common, even - to make a movie that was intended for theatrical release, but not find a theatrical distributor, or be produced for streaming but be released theatrically. The distribution method is not an indicator of the quality of the film. Roma's inherent quality wouldn't have changed if Netflix had refused to screen it theatrically, yet Spielberg wants to tell him it's inferior.

        The most telling are comments from the Coen Brothers about last year's 3 times Oscar nominated The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs. They essentially said that they didn't bother considering a standard theatrical production and release because studios wouldn't be interested, and Netflix was the ideal place for them to go from the start. If world famous highly regarded filmmakers delivering a product that was deemed worthy of 3 nominations didn't feel they would be able to meet the criteria that's now being suggested, what chance does a newcomer have? We won't know, because the industry will tell them they don't count because Netflix gave them their distribution deal.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 4:44am

        Re: Re: The point everyone is missing..

        "Disribution method alone is not a valid distinction."

        Of course it is. Distribution via subscription models earns less money for fewer tiers of middlemen than time-gapped regionalized licensing schemes.

        It comes down to a 3rd party (netflix) reaping decent revenue, or the primary academy award supporters (card-carrying MPAA copyright maximalist corporations) being able to earn themselves and their umpteen associates a whole lot more revenue while spinning their earnings through tried-and-true hollywood accounting so they can get a tax break on their "losses".

        That is surely a most noteworthy distinction.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 11:48am

      Re: The point everyone is missing..

      Bottom line - if it streams, and ONLY streams - it's a TV Movie

      Why? You can stream a film onto a screen in a theater as easily as you can stream it onto a TV. The streaming part doesn't decide how it is shown.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    john Katos (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 6:50am

    Could the real reason the DOJ is going after the Academy be that The Donald has it out for the Oscars?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 7:11am

      Re:

      Why? Does he want it renamed 'The Donald's'?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 7:30am

      Re:

      He's angry they haven't given him one over his portrayal as a "Human Being"?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 9:00am

        Re: Re:

        The reason for that is obvious. He has utterly failed in that role. A badger has a better shot at that award.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 4:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The reason for that is obvious. He has utterly failed in that role. A badger has a better shot at that award."

          I'm not arguing. Just saying that's why he's miffed.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 5 Apr 2019 @ 5:10am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Fun fact: Donald Trump has a cameo role as himself in the 1989 "comedy" Ghosts Can't Do It. At its current rating, the film would be ranked the 7th worst film of all time on iMDB if it had enough votes to qualify for the list.

            I wonder which annoys him more - the fact that his mere presence couldn't save that turd of a movie, or that he's not #1 on a list...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 9:12am

      Re:

      Well, they did refuse to cast him in that movie ... I forget which one.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roy (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 7:48am

    Say what now???

    "While that's actually makes some since for the DOJ"

    Huh? Come on guys - I'm not the worlds biggest grammar nazi (and I certainly don't point out every little typo), but I seriously expect better than that!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:22am

    Literary bitch

    "While that's actually makes some since for the DOJ," ??? Huh?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 8:34am

    Quote" It was the same sentiment recently exhibited by the Cannes film festival when they banned Netflix films because Netflix pushed back against absurd French film laws (like the one requiring a 36-month delay between theatrical release and streaming availability)."

    Wait, so in France, people are waiting for over 2 years before they can watch a movie in their house? It was a pretty long delay here in the U.S. long, long ago, in the VHS days. These days, it's not long after the movie is out of the theater and you can start streaming it at home. Nothing anywhere close to 36 month delay.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    dan8mx (profile), 4 Apr 2019 @ 10:54am

    If you really want to foster appreciation for good filmmaking, you could use a televised award ceremony to highlight exceptional examples and share why they are so special. Or, you could just pile a bunch of thank-you speeches from people who are really good at following the rules in between a bunch of commerical breaks. You're the cinematic visionary I guess.

    But, doesn't the DOJ have better things to do than try and scare the academy out of their plans to become less relevant?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Apr 2019 @ 12:29pm

    Well... Maybe the new-style industry should be having its own events anyway, where they can watch the old system fade to irrelevance. (Until it, too, turns completely evil.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.