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Netflix has disrupted television, swept up Oscars for film-making — and now it’s getting into publishing so it can rack up the awards to prove it.
Netflix is the latest among a string of digital-first companies like Airbnb and, most recently, Bumble, that have ventured into traditional publishing space.
According to Bloomberg, Netflix is working on a free magazine that is tentatively named Wide. The first issue of the magazine, in an effort to promote Netflix’s growing list of shows and stars, will include interviews with, essays, and features about the people who work on those programs, and will be distributed to Television Academy members in June to coincide with voting for Emmy Awards nominations.
Notably, despite having earned the most Emmy nominations of any TV network last year, Netflix has not yet won any of the top three prizes (Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Comedy Series, and Outstanding Limited Series). It is difficult not to read Wide as Netflix’s way to hype its content before awards season.
Netflix also plans to distribute Wide at events it will stage in the future. It is currently in talks to purchase the historic Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, which it would use for weekday and evening premieres, screenings, panels, and special events, according to Variety.
The media company has assembled a team to create the magazine, including former Vanity Fair editor Krista Smith. She joins Lisa Taback, a veteran awards season publicist Netflix onboarded last year.
Last year, Netflix beat out HBO for the most Emmy nominations of any network with 112. HBO previously held the record for 18 years. Despite its high number of nominations, it has yet to earn the awards for top three categories: best drama series, best comedy series or best limited series or movie.
The magazine is the latest effort from Netflix to prove that it’s not just a supercharged tech company; it’s a multifaceted entertainment behemoth to be reckoned with. On top of its production hubs in major cities around the globe, the streaming giant, whose market capitalization briefly eclipsed those of Comcast and Disney in May last year, has signed a number of overall deals with A-list talent. They include some of the most powerful names in television, such as Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, Black-ish showrunner Kenya Barris, and American Horror Story executive producer Ryan Murphy.
Netflix is expected to also distribute the magazine for Oscar nominations if this run goes well. The streaming service drew ire from some in Hollywood during the 2019 Oscar season, when it garnered 15 Oscar nominations, 10 of which were for the Spanish-language film Roma, which did not have a wide or long-playing theatrical release. That Alfonso Cuaron film eventually took home Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director, and Best Cinematography.
Reports surfaced last month that director Steven Spielberg, arguably the most vocal critic of Netflix, was gearing up to urge the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to change its eligibility rules, which would limit Netflix’s eligibility for many awards.
Shortly after, however, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a warning to the Academy stating that restricting Netflix’s participation in the Oscars could be a violation of antitrust laws.