April 15, 2019
Netflix to publish its own branded journal
by Ryan Harrington
At first glance, the next step in Netflix’s seemingly unstoppable march—now boasting 150 million users; and 700 programs released last year alone—looks like a step backward: the online streaming service is moving into the rapidly atrophying field of magazine publishing.
But the company’s magazine / journal, Wide, isn’t going to be competing in the marketplace for periodicals. Rather, it will be a free publication targeted mainly to Hollywood influencers. It seems that the publishing project—a marketing tool composed of interviews, features, essays, etc.—exists mostly in the service of whipping up awards attention for Netflix, a major objective in their hunt to play on the level of the major film studios.
As Lucas Shaw writes for Bloomberg:
Netflix has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in pursuit of Hollywood awards, which help burnish the image of the streaming service’s still-young studio in the eyes of consumers and the entertainment industry. Last year, the company tapped veteran publicist Lisa Taback to oversee its awards operation, and recently hired Krista Smith, an editor from the magazine Vanity Fair, to assist.
“In preparation for a groundbreaking year in film and television, Netflix has gathered some of the most talented and sought after writers and photographers, thinkers and creatives, to make the inaugural issue of Wide, the Netflix print journal,” Netflix wrote in one email.
Indeed, the first issue will go out in June which is Emmy voting season.
Recently, star power of the Steven Spielberg magnitude has spoken out against Netflix for cheapening the communal theater-going experience, and many think that films that don’t debut in theaters should be ineligible for awards.
And that may be so, but perhaps the TLDR news item for our readership of writer-types is: “Damn! Netflix the Magazine could probably be a really well-paid writing gig!
Ryan Harrington is a senior editor at Melville House.