Streaming giants unite for lobbying clout

Streaming giants unite for lobbying clout. Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery, Disney, and others have formed a new trade group to present a unified front against government regulation.

Streaming companies have formed the Streaming Innovation Alliance (SIA), reported Axios. The new trade group should give companies like Netflix and Disney a solid foundation from which to deal with current and future regulation. Specifically by the federal government related to streaming. The SIA formed as regulators look for ways to deal with a changing entertainment landscape. This increasingly includes content creators on social platforms, which these companies don’t necessarily want to be lumped in with.

In addition to Netflix and Disney, Axios lists SIA members Paramount Plus, Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max, Peacock, TelevisaUnivision, and some small streamers like For Us By Us Network, Vault, and AfroLandTV. Other streaming services like Pluto and Hulu are already owned by Paramount and Disney, so they’ll be represented here, too.

Axios notes that Apple, Amazon, Roku, and Tubi are not currently part of this group.

The trade group’s formation was reportedly spearheaded in part by Motion Picture Association (MPA) CEO Charles Rivkin. Netflix joined the MPA in 2019 and left the Internet Association, a broader trade group representing Big Tech companies like Google and Amazon that can’t really help streaming video firms with intellectual property fights (and in some cases, could be at odds with them). But then, the MPA, while helpful on the copyright law front, isn’t as nimble on the technology side of things.

Because streaming video companies exist in such a weird limbo between all of these worlds, they could get caught up in legislation that’s intended to target other facets of the internet. Laws like the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), which features overly broad definitions of the platforms it targets and has troubling privacy implications thanks to surveillance requirements, could sweep companies like Netflix or Disney up into its dragnet.

Of course, it’s about more than deflecting regulation aimed at other industries. Streaming companies are usually pro-net neutrality. This is a difficult concept for lawmakers and regulators in DC to fully grasp. They’re also dealing with demands for bespoke taxation, like efforts to tax streaming services like local networks. Increased regulation could affect their profit, which isn’t great as streamers are currently being forced to reckon with their profitability — or lack thereof.

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