Netflix’s shares may have dropped over the past several months, but as a news topic, the company is as popular as ever. After the jump:
- Netflix supports a bill that would allow it to share your video rental and streaming choices with your friends
- Rumor has it Verizon may be looking to buy Netflix
- Netflix takes yet another step into original programming with Eli Roth’s Hemlock Grove.
Over the past few years, we’ve gotten used to sharing our locations on Foursquare, our musical tastes on Spotify, and our recently read articles on Facebook — and if Netflix has its way, we’ll soon be divulging our cinematic selections online as well. The company is putting its weight behind a bill in Congress that seeks to amend the Video Privacy Protection Act, which currently requires companies to get a customer’s permission before disclosing which videos you’ve rented or seen. If the new bill passes, companies like Netflix would be required to get consent only once in order to share your information continuously, rather than having to collect it on a case-by-case basis.
Netflix argues that the old law is outdated in the age of social media, and points out that consumers would still have the choice to opt out of sharing entirely. However, detractors warn that the new law would give consumers less control over what they share and with whom. Furthermore, they point out, movie or TV choices may be a more delicate matter than, say, musical preferences, because the videos we watch can provide insight into our political, religious, or sexual preferences.
Netflix already offers a sharing feature for its Canadian and Latin American subscribers, which include an option to not share certain individual shows or movies. Competitor Hulu also currently offers a sharing option on Facebook. [NYT via Gizmodo]
Last week, we brought you news of a planned collaboration between Verizon and Redbox to launch a streaming Netflix competitor, but this week it’s looking like Verizon may be out to get Netflix in a much more direct sense. Netflix shares briefly jumped 6.8% Monday after reports surfaced that Verizon was considering buying the streaming/DVD rental company. However, the deal is far from certain at this point, with several analysts predicting that an actual takeover would be “unlikely” — as one noted to Deadline, “It would be far cheaper to buy Netflix’s subscribers than it would be to buy the service.”
What does seem clear at this point is that Verizon is determined to get into the streaming market, one way or another. Last week, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said his company had considered buying Hulu when the site was seeking a buyer earlier this year. [CBS News, The Hollywood Reporter]
Netflix’s move toward original programming continues with Hemlock Grove, a new horror/thriller show from Hostel helmer Eli Roth. The company is close to finalizing a 13-episode order for the show, which will be written by Brian McGreevey and Lee Shipman and directed by Roth. All three will executive produce, along with Eric Newman. Hemlock Grove marks Netflix’s third original series, after next year’s House of Cards and the recent deal for Jenji Kohan’s Orange is the New Black. In addition, Netflix also finalized a deal last month to exclusively distribute a new season of Arrested Development in 2013.
Based on McGreevey’s own forthcoming gothic horror novel, Hemlock Grove “re-imagines everything it means to be a monster as reflected in the struggle to be human” as the story unfolds “against the backdrop of our darkest myths, adolescent deceptions, ravenous relationships and rumors of a werewolf.” [Deadline]