Netflix has officially become the first of the major streaming services to join the Motion Picture Association of America, the organization announced Wednesday morning. It’s a move full of precedent as the lines continue to blur between traditional film studios and triple A streaming services like Netflix.
“On behalf of the MPAA and its member companies, I am delighted to welcome Netflix as a partner,” said MPAA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin in a statement. “All of our members are committed to pushing the film and television industry forward, in both how we tell stories and how we reach audiences. Adding Netflix will allow us to even more effectively advocate for the global community of creative storytellers, and I look forward to seeing what we can all achieve together.”
Netflix responded in kind: “Joining the Motion Picture Association further exemplifies our commitment to ensuring the vibrancy of these creative industries and the many talented people who work in them all over the world,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer. “We look forward to supporting the association team and their important efforts.”
The timing is fortuitous, as Netflix just scored its first Oscar nomination for Best Picture, thanks to Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. It’s a major watershed moment, in terms of films released directly via streamers—so-called “Netflix Original Movies”—being treated with the same degree of dignity as those in wide release. Other Netflix releases in 2018, including The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Bird Box also blurred the lines on typical streaming releases by debuting in select theaters for limited screenings before hitting Netflix proper.
Netflix doesn’t seem to have any intention to take up the MPAA’s “G” to “X” rating system any time soon, but its membership in the organization is just the next step toward the streamer’s transformation into a full-on film studio.