Russian Netflix Subs Sue Over Service Shut Down

A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Russia against Netflix by the streamer’s subscribers angered by the shutdown of service last month. The suit, which represents Netflix’s reported 1 million Russian subs, is seeking 60 million rubles ($726,000) in compensation, according to the RIA news agency.

“Today, a law firm representing the interests of Netflix users filed a class action lawsuit against the American Netflix service with the Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow,” reported RIA, citing the law firm Chernyshov, Lukoyanov & Partners. “The reason for the lawsuit was a violation of Russian users’ rights due to Netflix’s unilateral refusal to provide services in Russia.”

Netflix, along with most Western companies, halted service and all operations in Russia in response to President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked Feb. 24 invasion by the Russian army into neighboring Ukraine.

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Ex-Legal Affairs Director Sues Netflix for Discrimination

A former legal affairs director at Netflix has sued the streaming behemoth, alleging racial discrimination and gender bias, among other issues.

In the lawsuit, filed July 13 in U.S. Superior Court in Los Angeles, Nandini Mehta alleges she was terminated after calling out the company’s tax set-up in India to senior management.

Mehta, an Indian citizen hired in 2018 and working in Netflix’s Mumbai and Beverly Hills, Calif., offices, claims she was “systematically discriminated against” after questioning the streamer’s tax liability strategy, according to the complaint. Mehta claims she was warned by superiors to drop the matter.

Netflix, in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, claims the allegations about the streamer’s corporate structure in India are untrue.

“The structure we established in India is typical for multinational companies and reflects our business needs and the relevant governmental rules,” Netflix said.

Netflix entered the Indian market in 2016 following a global rollout. It reportedly has more than 2 million subs in the region.

The suit contends Mehta was fired in April for using her corporate credit card for personal expenses. Mehta, in her suit, calls the claims “bogus,” claiming she was authorized to use the card for personal expenses.

Netflix says such authorization is untrue, and counters Mehta was warned to stop using her card for non-business expenses.

“Ms. Mehta was fired from Netflix for repeatedly using her corporate credit card for tens of thousands of dollars in personal expenses,” said the streamer. “Mehta was instructed not to use her corporate card for personal expenses and given ample opportunity to correct her behavior. She did not and her employment was terminated as a result. We are confident her claims will be found to be totally lacking in merit.”

Separately, three movie marketing executives were reportedly let go after a group discussion about their boss — chief marketing officer Bozoma Saint John — was revealed on a social media platform.

“The depiction of the Slack messages in question being critical of marketing leadership is untrue,” Netflix said in a statement.

Saint John was hired in 2020 following high-profile stints at Endeavor, Uber and Apple.

Redbox Settles With Disney, Agrees Not to Sell Digital Codes

Disney and Redbox have settled their two-year-old lawsuit, with the kiosk company agreeing to never sell digital codes.

The codes offering access to a digital movie copy are contained in disc combo packs that Redbox purchases so it can rent out the discs from its kiosks. Unlike other studios, Disney does not have a rental agreement with Redbox. The kiosk company, which purchases Disney titles at retail, had been splitting up the content of the combo packs, renting the discs and selling the codes.

U.S. District Court judge Dean D. Pregerson Nov. 14 filed a proposed stipulated consent judgment and permanent injunction based on a Nov. 12 settlement between the parties.

Redbox is “permanently restrained and enjoined from selling, offering, distributing, marketing or promoting (including entering into any contract providing for the sale, offer, distribution, marketing, or promotion) of codes,” read the filing.

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Facebook Sued for Fraud Over Video Ad Views

Facebook has been sued for fraud by a social media marketing firm on behalf of advertisers alleging the social media behemoth in 2016 knew for over year that it was overstating the average time users spent watching paid video ads.

The amended class-action suit – filed Oct. 16 by Crowd Siren in U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif. – cites a Wall Street Journal story that reported Facebook overstated video viewing time from 60% to 80%. However, the new suit alleges viewership metrics were inflated from 150% to 900%.

“Because advertisers place higher value upon advertisements that are viewed for longer periods, they are willing to pay more for such advertisements,” read the complaint.

Facebook generated more than $17 billion in revenue from ads in 2015 – more than 95% of its overall revenue.

“Facebook engineers knew for over a year, and multiple advertisers had reported aberrant results caused by the miscalculation,” read the complaint. “Yet, Facebook did nothing to stop its dissemination of false metrics.”

The complaint claims Facebook employed a “no PR” campaign designed to “obfuscate the fact that [it] screwed up the math,” while continuing to generate revenue from inflated viewership numbers. Indeed, plaintiffs claim Facebook tried to smooth over the situation by using a new “average watch time” viewership data.

Extended video ad views are crucial. Plaintiffs cited third-party data that claimed when Facebook video ad viewership expands from three seconds to 10 seconds, ad recall increased to 57%, brand awareness increased more than 100%, and 64% increase in “purchase intent.”