Netflix busted for posing actors as consumers

Service paid extras to 'play types' for Canadian launch

TORONTO -- Oh dear.

Netflix was caught red-faced Wednesday after paid actors posing as excited consumers of its new Netflix Canada service were unmasked by the local media.

As it kicked off its Netflix Canada offering in Toronto with a press conference, Netflix also hired actors to appear in a corporate video shoot to take advantage of the launch event.

According to Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey, some of the "extras" remained behind after the press conference and ended up talking to the local media.

"Really, it's a case of two worlds colliding," Swasey said in an email late Wednesday.

According to a corporate documentary script for the Netflix extras obtained by the Canadian Press newswire service, the actors were to "play types, for example, mothers, film buffs, tech geeks, couch potatoes, etc."

Swasey expressed embarrassment over the "confusion" caused by having paid actors promoting the Netflix Canada service.

The local media wasn't impressed, and many immediately used Twitter and other social media sites to spotlight the amateur-hour PR gaffe.

"Perhaps the hope was that journalists would be too dumb to ask if they were actors," Peter Nowak, a technology reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. tweeted Wednesday.

And the Globe and Mail newspaper took a page out of David Letterman and posted an article titled "10 signs you're interviewing a paid Netflix actor."
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