Netflix nets UK public policy director for fresh lobbying offensive
Exclusive: Benjamin King will be the firm’s first London lobbyist
Netflix has hired its first UK-based lobbyist as the streaming video giant sets about reorienting its public policy strategy.
The globally popular streaming service has turned to 21st Century Fox, stealing the firm’s vice president of public affairs and policy Benjamin King to be its director of UK public policy.
He will take up the new post next month after six years at 21st Century Fox, where he was previously director of government relations for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
King started out in public affairs as a graduate trainee at Edelman and went on to be public affairs manager at News Corp.
Netflix now has over 139 million paid subscriptions worldwide and this month it became the first streaming service to become a member of the Motion Picture Association of America. The move reflects the fact that Netflix now creates hundreds of television programs and movies each year in markets around the globe.
At the same time, the business has been reorienting its public policy strategy, in part to contend with global regulators as it pushes aggressively into Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
King’s imminent arrival at Netflix follows the recent hire of Dean Garfield, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, to lead its global public policy team from Amsterdam.
Explaining the fresh focus on UK and EU lobbying, King told PAN indicated that the firm was keen to get more decision-makers on side as it continues to expand.
“Netflix hasn’t previously had much of a presence in public affairs terms in the UK and some other parts of the EU. It is still something of an unknown quantity for many politicians and policymakers,” he said.
“By and large they are quite benign towards it, but haven’t yet had the chance to engage with Netflix directly to understand better the product, the ambitions or the strategy.”
This story was exclusively previewed in PAN editor David Singleton’s weekly lobbying lowdown memo, sent out on Friday 25 January.