Netflix over the past year has stepped up its presence in Washington, D.C., spending $270,000 on lobbying since the fourth quarter of 2010, according to research firm First Street Research Group.
The streaming-video and DVDs-by-mail provider began lobbying in 2005 on one issue -- rate reform at the U.S. Postal Service -- and now lobbies on six different issues. Those include the Video Privacy Protection Act (which Netflix wants changed so it can share subscriber information with third-party sites such as Facebook); Network Neutrality; Internet bandwidth caps; and postal issues.
In November 2010, the company set up its own internal lobbying shop headed by Michael Drobac. And Netflix posted a position for senior manager of government relations to work in Washington and may hire more staff, the Washington Post reported this week.
Netflix increasingly is relying on Internet distribution for its streaming-video service. As of Sept. 1, the company changed its pricing plans forcing customers to pay for separate streaming-only and DVD-by-mail subscriptions.
In the past six years Netflix has spent $340,000 on lobbying activity, according to First Street. The company currently employs 17 lobbyists, 15 of whom have previously worked for the government.
Firms retained by Netflix for lobbying include Franklin Square Group LLC, Kountoupes Consulting LLC, Monument Policy Group LLC and Patton Boggs LLP.
More information on Netflix's lobbying activities is available from First Street on its website here: http://firststreet.cqpress.com/content/Netflix.aspx. The research firm is a unit of CQ Press, a division of SAGE Publications.