|Netflix is hiring a new VP of global policy as part of its big expansion in Europe|
It’s also losing its longtime, D.C.-based policy chief, Christopher Libertelli.
by Tony Romm @TonyRomm
May 21, 2017, 3:00pm EDT
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is seeing most of his growth from outside the U.S. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Europe is the next frontier for Netflix: The streaming giant is hiring hundreds of workers and spending billions of dollars on local content as it seeks new viewers across the Atlantic.
But such an expansion abroad could also come with its fair share of political headaches — which is why Netflix is looking to grow its policy operation in Europe, too.
As part of its fast-growing Amsterdam hub, Netflix is seeking a new vice president of global public policy, a major regulatory role that will focus on media ownership, net neutrality, competition, tax law and other issues percolating throughout the European Union and beyond.
Since 2011, that title has belonged to Christopher Libertelli, a longtime telecom lawyer and lobbyist based in Washington D.C. But Libertelli confirmed to Recode today that he would be leaving Netflix in the coming weeks.
A spokesman for Netflix also confirmed Libertelli’s departure, adding in a statement: “[G]iven the role's global profile and our global expansion, the idea is to find a replacement more centrally located to oversee teams in Asia, Europe and US.”
During his tenure, Libertelli notched a number of policy wins for the company, particularly in the United States. Netflix had been a forceful advocate for open internet rules at the FCC, for example, and it secured changes to federal law that make it easier to share video-watching history on social media.
Some of those fights, like net neutrality, are far from finished in the nation’s capital. Libertelli’s replacement will inherit that battle — along with a full plate of fast moving policy debates in the European Union, too.
Like many in the tech industry, Netflix has had its run-ins with local European privacy regulators. It’s also watched as the European Commission’s leading competition cop, Margrethe Vestager, has scrutinized local pay-TV deals, probed U.S. tech giants’ tax practices and investigated online platforms.
Beyond that, EU regulators have weighed in recent years whether to force video-streaming companies to dedicate 20 percent of their offerings to Europe-made content. Some in the industry, including Netflix, have raised red flags with such strict quotas.
And the region itself only this year eased some rules so that EU citizens can access their favorite TV shows and movies when they travel to neighboring European countries. Before the change, licensing restrictions rendered it impossible to view the same content across EU borders.