Over the course of the past couple of years, Netflix has slowly began its rise to the top in terms of generating highly original ideas in the world of television production. Keeping the success of programs like Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things in mind, it has become quickly apparent that there is a brand new player cornering the market that used to be dominated by outstanding cable networks that have been in operation for several decades.
As Netflix continues to develop original programming outside of the standard structure of TV broadcasting, other television studios will no doubt begin to feel a little encroached upon. On that note, the latest word has it that 21st Century Fox is currently going to court against Netflix for allegedly poaching former executives.
According to THR, Fox is suing Netflix for instigating a “brazen campaign to unlawfully target, recruit, and poach valuable Fox executives by illegally inducing them to break their employment contracts with Fox to work at Netflix.” The lawsuit follows the recent move of former Fox programming executive Tara Flynn and marketing executive Marcos Waltenberg over to comparable positions at Netflix. According to Flynn and Waltenberg’s respective contracts with Fox, the two executives were allegedly obligated to work for the former studio through 2019 and 2018. Speaking to the legal action, Fox made the following statement:
“We filed this lawsuit because we believe Netflix is defiantly flouting the law by soliciting and inducing employees to break their contracts. We intend to seek all available remedies to enforce our rights and hold Netflix accountable for its wrongful behavior.”
The notion that Netflix might take it upon themselves to entice executives from other networks to work for them in breach of preexisting contracts is a troubling one. It also adds fuel to the fire that has many TV studios worried that the rise of an online streaming service like Netflix could result in a content monopoly. In response to the claims filed against them by Fox, Netflix issued a statement that reads:
“We intend to defend this lawsuit vigorously. We do not believe Fox’s use of fixed term employment contracts in this manner are enforceable. We believe in employee mobility and will fight for the right to hire great colleagues no matter where they work.”
The fallout from a case such as this one is big news when it comes to how the television industry will evolve and adapt to the rise of online streaming networks in the future – and might just signal the death knell of broadcast TV in general. Only time will tell who will come out on top – though based on the quality of content that Netflix has been able to produce of late, it might just be the tipping point of a much larger issue.