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Critics Without Netflix Accounts Will Get Free Ones to Access Screeners

Goodbye, Netflix Media Center: Netflix now requires critics to have a Netflix account in order to access screeners.


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Changes are coming to Netflix — at least for those who write about it. Journalists and critics who review the streaming giant’s ever-expanding library will now do so in a new way, which will require them to have a Netflix account rather than sign into a dedicated press site.

The news first made the rounds on Twitter, when journalists who’d accessed their Netflix Media Center accounts received a note about the coming change. This led to the perception that those without existing Netflix accounts will now have to pay for one in order to review the streaming service’s upcoming movies and TV shows, but IndieWire has been told that this is not the case: Journalists will receive complimentary subscription codes for accounts that will allow them to access this advance content in addition to everything else in the Netflix catalogue.

Under the current system, accredited journalists and critics preview to-be-released programming via their web browser at media.netflix.com. The new initiative will be accessible under a new row called Preview Content on the Netflix app itself and, on shared accounts, will only be available on the primary profile. The current screener system is not hugely popular among critics, and the stated intention of streamlining it, though the rollout — the brief Media Center note showed up before a longer, more explanatory email — created confusion.

Among the affected movies and series are “Triple Frontier,” “Arrested Development” Season 5, “The OA” Season 2, and “The Highwaymen,” all of which are being released this month. Netflix is expected to spend as much as $15 billion on content this year, an increase over last year’s $12 billion. “The more investment you’re putting in, the more people are finding content that they love and the more they have value in the service,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings during an investor interview in January.

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