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Netflix grabs top communications executive from Disney

January 26, 2011 |  1:10 pm

Walt Disney Co.'s No. 2 corporate communications executive is jumping to a company viewed by many in the entertainment industry as Enemy No. 1.

Jonathan Friedland, senior vice president of corporate communications at Disney, is taking a new job at Netflix Inc. as vice president of global corporate communications, the DVD and online-video subscription company confirmed.

Netflix, which has an increasingly fraught relationship with Hollywood, will get an executive who is versed on the studios' point of view on the digital transformation of the business. At Disney, he was integral in helping to shape the entertainment giant's message in the media and among investors. 

Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes, who owns the competing HBO pay-cable networks, has publicly criticized Netflix and its efforts to buy rights to movies for its Internet streaming service. Some other Hollywood executives have privately complained that Netflix is not fairly compensating them for content given the company's fast-rising profits and stock price.

-- Ben Fritz