Netflix Criticized After Paying for Expensive Trips for Movie Critics

The traditional film industry is not thrilled with the way Netflix does things. This is hardly new information, but there is a new front in the conflict, and it has to do with the way the streaming giant is spending its "for your consideration" money. Accoding to a story at The Washington Post, rivals are upset that Netflix flew members of the entertainment press to swanky events in Los Angeles and New York, provided intimate and exclusive access to filmmakers and celebrities, and bought them meals at expensive restaurants. They claim that the critics in question may have been unduly influenced by the perks, while Netflix claims that those arguments are just sour grapes.

Premiere tickets, swag bags, and fun press kits are nothing new. They are a staple of promoting films and TV projects, and studios will often cover flights and accommodations for set visits and premiere red carpets. Targeting the voting body of an awards show during awards season, though, is likely what turned the heads.

In their story, the Post also quotes a number of sources who wished to remain anonymous, which could be another sticking point: generally, when studios provide accommodations for something like a set visit or a red carpet, reporters are not actively discouraged from disclosing the perks. Depending on the outlet, some websites and publications have specific rules mandating such a disclosure within a given story. This reporter has been on a handful of such trips over the years.

Even by the standards of such trips, the Netflix junkets are pretty posh, with five-star hotels and famous eateries involved. They are also less common in New York and Los Angeles -- the locations of the trips Netflix is getting the side-eye for -- since that is where a lot of the entertainment press is already located, and so expensive hotels and posh lunches feel a little more excessive when the context is added that the reporter in question could sleep in their own bed if they wanted.

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Critics would likely also note that while most junkets are aimed at building public awareness and hype for an upcoming project, the practice of not just targeting voting members of the Critics Choice Awards but also in hosting such trips for current awards contenders is a different animal.

Critics quoted in the Post article said that the trips did not impact their votes for or against Netflix. The Critics Choice Awards will air on January 12, 2020, on The CW.

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