Netflix to publish magazine as it chases Hollywood awards

LOS ANGELES • Netflix Inc is planning its first magazine, but you won’t find it on a newsstand.

The world’s largest online television (TV) network plans to publish a journal — with the working title Wide — to promote its programmes and stars ahead of this year’s Emmys, the biggest awards gala in TV. The 100-plus page inaugural issue will include interviews, essays and features about and by people who work on Netflix series, according to emails reviewed by Bloomberg.

The free publication will help Netflix highlight particular shows and talent from its ever-growing line-up within the Hollywood community. The company released about 700 programmes last year, spanning movies, TV series, documentaries, standup comedy specials and animation.

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 TV, 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.

The company aims to distribute the publication in June, when members of the TV academy vote on Emmy nominations. Netflix has asked collaborators to participate in photo shoots and interviews.

But the publication isn’t only about awards. Netflix is testing different ways to promote upcoming titles to people in the industry and will distribute the publication at events it stages. Last year, the company took over a building in Los Angeles for a month, hosting screenings and parties.

Started as a DVD-by-mail service in Los Gatos, California, Netflix has blossomed into one of the world’s largest media companies, with a market value and production slate to match. While Netflix still employs a corps of engineers in Silicon Valley, it is shedding its reputation as an entertainment outsider and is courting film and TV’s biggest stars.

The company operates a studio in the heart of Hollywood that includes multiple sound stages and an animation hub, and has opened production facilities in New Mexico and Spain. Netflix also is in talks to buy a historic Hollywood movie theatre for premieres and other events.

Critics of Netflix say shows get lost amid the volume of new programmes released each week, and that talent isn’t nurtured at Netflix the way it is at other studios.

Criticism aside, the results have been good. The streaming service is nearing 150 million customers worldwide, and earned the most Emmy nominations of any network last year, edging out longtime leader HBO. — Bloomberg