Netflix turns to social media after SEC ruling

A week after the Securities and Exchange Commission released guidelines embracing social media, Netflix said in a regulatory filing that it may use those channels to communicate with investors.

A week after the Securities and Exchange Commission released guidelines embracing social media, Netflix said in a regulatory filing that it may use those channels to communicate with investors.

The entertainment company listed its Twitter and Facebook accounts, blogs, and CEO Reed Hastings' personal Facebook page as possible outlets for disclosure. It is one of the first companies to do so following the SEC's ruling that companies can use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels to communicate with investors as long as they tell them up-front which outlets they will use.

It comes as no surprise that Netflix would jump on board early with the SEC's new guidelines, since the company had already treaded into that territory. The SEC's decision followed an investigation by the organization into whether Hastings violated a rule when he posted on his personal Facebook page last July that the service had exceeded 1 billion hours viewed in a month.

Last week, when I spoke to corporate comms execs about the SEC's ruling, they said many companies were uncomfortable with the idea of using social media in investor relations, and investors and analysts were also hesitant to turn to those channels for financial information. However, execs predicted that tech companies like Netflix would be the early adapters of the rule, since they were already at the forefront of social media experimentation.

As Netflix enters uncharted waters, other companies will be watching and learning from its mistakes and successes.  

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