Netflix Spends More for Political Clout - NBC Bay Area

Netflix Spends More for Political Clout



    Netflix Spends More for Political Clout
    Netflix spent more than it ever has lobbying Congress.

    Netflix spent $110,000 lobbying Congress during the second quarter, escalating the largest U.S. video subscription service's recent effort to gain more political clout.

    It's the biggest bill that Los Gatos-based video rental service has run up since it set up its lobbying office in Washington last year.

    Netflix spent $80,000 making its points with federal lawmakers in each of the previous two quarters.

    Netflix's political push comes after several years of strong customer growth established it as a mover and shaker in entertainment circles. The company ended June with nearly 25 million U.S. subscribers to its DVD-by-mail and Internet video streaming service.

    Postal issues were among the topics on Netflix's second-quarter lobbying agenda, according to according to a statement filed with the U.S. Senate's secretary's office. Netflix spends an estimated $600 million annually shipping DVD rentals to its subscribers, ranking it among the largest customers of the U.S. Postal Service.

    Netflix also discussed telecommunications and Internet access issues with the Congress. Those topics are becoming increasingly important to Netflix as its Internet video streaming service consumes more bandwidth. Some Internet access providers are charging extra money if subscribers exceed a monthly limit on data transfers, a trend that threatens to discourage usage of Netflix's video streaming service.

    The company also addressed the Video Privacy Protection Act, a 23-year-old law that forbids the disclosure of video rental records. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings cited that prohibition as a reason for not introducing a feature in the U.S. that would make it easier for the company's subscribers to share their video choices within their social circles on Facebook.

    That Facebook feature is only being offered to Netflix subscribers in Canada and Latin America for now. The company is backing a proposed revision to the video privacy act that it says would enable the Facebook feature to be offered in the U.S.