In the escalating war between Big Cable and Netflix, a pretty big shot was just fired: Netflix is about to get into the political arena in earnest with its very own political action committee, creatively titled “Flixpac.”
Aside from sounding like a bulk deal at a Hollywood Video, what will Flixpac be up to? The short answer is…fighting everybody who provides Internet service to America.
The video wars have been getting uglier and uglier. AT&T and Comcast already deliberately cap the data you can stream through the connections you buy in order to force people to use their video offerings instead of Netflix Streaming, something that is inevitably going to wind up in court no matter how much Comcast insists their video content comes from magic invisible cables elves plugged into your modem without your knowledge.
Nor is it Netflix’s first foray into politics:
Behind the scenes, Netflix has employed lobbyists since the mid-2000’s, although it has only employed full-time lobbyists since the end of 2010. The recent years have seen an exponential growth in Netflix’s cash flow to Congress, however. In 2009 the company spent $20,000 in lobby money, which grew to $130,000 in 2010, and by 2011 the company reported spending half a million dollars lobbying Congress.
It’s unfortunate Netflix has to associate with Congress, but it’s necessary. Otherwise, Big Cable will use its de facto monopolies to strangle it. It’s a little depressing that the best defense has to be, in the end, a financial offense. But until cable gets its monopolies taken away and forced to genuinely compete in a free market, it’ll have to happen.
(Image via MoneyBlogNewz on Flickr)