With a 'Global' Audience, Netflix Will Face New Censorship Demands

CEO Reed Hastings explained they may edit content in different territories as the streaming service expands across the globe.


There was a lot to take in after Netflix’s keynote address at CES 2016 on Wednesday. Besides bandying about Will Arnett and Chelsea Handler to offer updates about their new shows as well as dropping the content bomb that their platform will now be available globally, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings also announced afterward the possibility that the service may eventually offer edited versions of its movies and TV series.

The idea of omitting certain details of their content came directly from their move to achieve global streaming domination. “We’ll see and we’ll have to learn,” Hastings said, explaining that when dealing with potentially raunchy material that, “Entertainment companies have to make compromises over time” when putting content up that may not jibe well with local cultural morals.

Hastings eventually explained that such censorship isn’t necessarily some kind of totalitarian move to suppress someone’s artistic vision. Hollywood studios have been soft-editing their R-rated movies for decades to make them palatable in public places, mostly for viewing on airplanes. And the airplane comparison makes sense since Netflix agreed last year to make its catalogue available for passengers to stream on Virgin America flights for free.

But the move to potentially edit out explicit material on TV shows and movies is still surprising considering their announcement yesterday that its gross-out original Adam Sandler comedy The Ridiculous 6 was the most-watched movie on the platform in its first 30 days, and was the number one movie in all current Netflix territories.

It makes you wonder whether their number one movie, with its scenes featuring — SPOILERS AHEAD! — a donkey projectile-shitting on people and dozens of Taylor Lautner dick jokes, could survive the Netflix censors. In that case, the entire runtime of the movie would probably be about three minutes long.

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