DOJ polietly tells oscars academy they cant ban netflis ,,,,

Apparently Spielberg wont get his wish because apparently it violates antitrust laws
Note they say it as "well we cant tell you not to but here’s what were gonna have to do if you do make such a rule "

I’m a little confused. I always thought the rule for a movie to be considered for the Oscars was that it had to be shown in a movie theater. Who decided to include Netflix in the first place? Also a little strange, does winning an Oscar really improve sales?

As I understand it, Netflix makes a point of going through the motions by doing a theatrical screening of a movie they want to put up for such awards.

Which isn’t too different than the sort of going through the motions that the regular studios often do (like showing it in one theater in L.A. on December 31 so it’s eligible for that year’s Oscars).

It’s nice to see the Department of Justice spend its time defending the rights of under-represented groups like a multibillion dollar corporation against perceived discrimination from other multibillion dollar corporations. And isn’t the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a private organization free to set its own rules for its own awards?

Honestly, now I’d like to see the academy slap down Netflix just because their law suit against the DOJ for anti trust would be fascinating. Hell, how can they be a monopoly when you can go right next door to the golden globes or the SAG awards there is a reason it’s called award season.

This is exactly what I would think. Does the DOJ also intend to take steps to break up the Academy into “Baby Academies” at some point?

BTW, I thought for a moment I had developed dyslexia when I saw the subject line.

It’s not that the Academy is a monopoly that is causing the anti-trust violation. The problem is that several competitors (the traditional film studios) are colluding to hurt another competitor.

Of course the DOJ is spending time dealing with large corporations, because that is what anti-trust law is about. We’re not exactly violating the Sherman act when some neighbors and I decide to exclude that jerk down the street from our weekend barbecue.

I think they should be free to set the ground rules for eligibility for its awards and if Netflix wants to compete for those awards, it should conform to them.

Which they already do. I don’t know how the Academy can ban Netflix without making some hyper specific rule that Netflix can’t conform to.

Simple: “Movies are eligible if they play one week in LA and do not appear on a streaming platform for three months.” Some theaters have this policy already.

Netflix could, of course, comply, but this would mollify theater owners and put Netflix on an even footing with other studios.

BTW, the current rule is, I think, that a movie has to show in a theater in Los Angeles County for a week to be eligible for the Academy Awards. They could change things so the movie has to show in X theaters across X states for X period over the course of the year perhaps with some sort of requirement for a promotional campaign. That’s not going to hurt Netflix, which is rich and can afford all of this. Who it would hurt are the small production companies and independent film makers, who can’t.

That kind of rule is what the Cannes Film Festival has, except the requirement is for a three-year period between theatrical release and streaming availability.

These would probably hurt the kind of movies that already get nominated for Oscars. They do a small release and then go wide right around when the nominations are announced.

And it looks like bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, and A Star is Born were all available for streaming less than 3 months after the first theatrical release.

I’m wondering what the Dept. of Justice thinks is the consumer harm in this situation.

The academy is more than large corporations and if I remember correctly the person who is doing most of the vocal lobbying at this point in time isn’t even a corporation. Kicking netflix and hulu is no more anti competitive then kicking out lifetime. I’d love to see the rule making that tries to split that hair.

Like I said in the thread where this originally came up I’d like to see the Oscars actually be about movies that I want to see and that are shown within 100 miles of me. I don’t have Netflix so their movies are worthless to me and no number of academy awards will make me care. I’d prefer if they changed the rule to the move has to be shown in 50% of movie theaters nation wide for at least 2 weeks and then if they want to be dicks they could add in the rule suggested above - no streaming services offered until 30 days after last theater showing. Seeing DOJ fight that would be fascinating.

This reminds me of the silly rules they have in France for some of their awards. E.g., for Cannes it’s 3 years between French theatrical release and streaming allowed.

All the usual “trying to stop the future from happening” metaphors apply.

What next, going to force performers to do their songs live only before they are allowed to release recordings? (Gotta preserve those music halls folks.)

FYI, Variety has the text of the letter sent to AMPAS. Among other things, it says, “If the Academy adopts a new rule to exclude certain types of films, such as films distributed via online streaming services, from eligibility for the Oscars, and that
exclusion tends to diminish the excluded films’ sales, that rule could therefore violate
Section 1.”

The thing is that Netflix doesn’t really care about sales in the form of box office revenues. They want more subscribers, and having award-winning pictures tends to help that.

This doesn’t sound like a strong antitrust case to me. The Academy is not fixing prices or restricting Netflix’s access to markets, upstream supply, or downstream distribution.

Any harm from lost sales from the lack of Oscar awards is extremely attenuated and hard to prove.

And there’s no demonstrable harm to consumers. I’m no expert on antitrust law, but the idea of require admittance to an award program whose results are entirely a matter of opinion seems very odd to me.

This letter from the DoJ seems very poorly thought through and strange. It’s hard for me to imagine that Netflix made a very good argument to them.

I’m sure there are plenty of studies showing that an Oscar win increases a films revenue(sorry I can’t link with this device). I’m also fairly certain that a number of these studies will have been endorsed or backed by the Academy. How accurate this link is I have no idea but I’m sure DOJ lawyers will have plenty of publicly available material to work with.