Netflix to Launch Its Own Publication to Tout Awards Hopefuls

Netflix headquarters
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Netflix headquarters

Netflix is not in the business of leaving stones unturned, particularly when it comes to pursuing awards, which help to attract new subscribers and talent to the service.

The streaming giant has, for several years now, operated its own "FYSee" campaign space on the Raleigh Studios lot ahead of and during Emmy nominations voting. Last year, it retained the services of one of Hollywood's top awards strategists, Lisa Taback, and her team of employees, which became the core of a Netflix awards and talent relations squad that has grown to include dozens. It spent, by most estimates, tens of millions mounting a no-holds-barred Oscar campaign for Roma, a star-less black-and-white Spanish-language film, which wound up tied for the most Oscar nominations of the year and was awarded three Oscars, including best director. It also is in talks to acquire Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre, in part to appease Oscar voters who have reservations about backing Netflix films because they question its support of the theatrical moviegoing experience.

And now, as first reported Wednesday by Bloomberg, it is, in a sense, getting into the publishing business.

Starting this Emmy season, Netflix will begin publishing a "journal" — not unlike those currently published by Goop and A24 — that has been given the tentative title Wide, with its first issue expected to run more than 100 pages. The publication will tout the streamer's voluminous programming — including, of course, its many awards hopefuls — to voters and tastemakers, including the roughly 15,000 members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences who determine Emmy nominations and wins. It will strive, via features, essays, interviews and photos, not only to separate Netflix's offerings from an ever-growing pack of options in the Peak TV era, but also to make Netflix talent feel supported in the face of criticism that good work can get lost amidst its glut of content.

Netflix released more than 700 programs last year — and garnered a field-leading 112 Emmy nominations.

Bloomberg reports that Wide will be made available for free at Netflix's FYSee space. The Hollywood Reporter can further report that the publication will likely be published on a quarterly basis, with its content generated by both Netflix employees — as in, in-house staff and, on occasion, onscreen talent — and about a dozen freelancers. Longtime Vanity Fair contributing editor Krista Smith, whom Netflix recently hired as a consultant (on top of her VF duties), will be involved with this operation, too, when she starts at the streamer on Monday.

A publication like Wide is not unprecedented. The first cable service to offer movies to denizens of the Los Angeles area — where the bulk of members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reside — was the Z Channel, which, in the 1970s and 1980s, studios rushed to program with Oscar hopefuls. Z also comped its subscribers with Z, a monthly magazine smaller in size but similar in scope to what Netflix is reportedly planning.

Other publications already target TV Academy members and generate significant revenue from the sale of "For Your Consideration" ads that appear in their pages — among them, Emmy, the TV Academy's own magazine; local newspapers like the Los Angeles Times; and, indeed, trade publications including THR

It is conceivable that someone like press-shy Beyonce Knowles, the subject of the just-announced Netflix special Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce, would agree to speak with Wide, which would surely never ask or publish anything controversial, but not to other publications.