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Creve Coeur sues Netflix, Hulu over service fee claim

CREVE COEUR, Mo. – Whether its kids' favorites, like “All Hail King Julien,” or an original drama series, like “Ozark,” Netflix and HULU are changing the norms and leading a large number of binge-watchers to cut the cord and subscribe to streaming services.

Now after gaining hundreds of millions of subscribers and making equally that same amount of money in revenue, the City of Creve Coeur is asking: where’s our cut?

“The city expects all businesses pay their fair share, just as all residents should,” attorney John Mulligan said.

Mulligan is one of the attorneys representing Creve Coeur, which filed suit against the streaming companies, claiming they’re not paying a video-service-provider fee.

It’s that same cost, Mulligan says, companies like Spectrum are paying right now that goes into local revenue. The lawsuit states other municipalities could join in on the case as well.

“Oh, I know there’s more,” he said. “There’s certainly more cities interested.”

The thought of Netflix and Hulu having to pay that extra fee has couple Zac Schweizer and Stacy Schultz on the fence. The recent cord cutters understand the city’s need, but they don’t want to be the ones footing the bill in the end.

“As the consumer, you don’t want them to,” Schweizer said. “You don’t want prices to go up.”

The couple suggests the city could find a new way to gain revenue.

“It seems to be a short-term fix even if they were to win,” Schultz said. “I can’t imagine they’re going to be winning these across the country.”

While the suit goes through the court system, binge-watchers can rest assure streaming services will not be fading away as cities find out how to get their cut.

Netflix declined to speak about the pending lawsuit. Hulu did not return our emails.

Creve Coeur Mayor Barry Glantz, on the other hand, released a statement saying:

“The City of Creve Coeur depends on many sources of revenue to provide good municipal services to the community - including fees paid by cable television companies.

“As alternative providers such as Directv, DISH, Netflix, and Hulu take customers from cable (reducing fees from those companies) - they still use the right of way, etc. and should pay similar fees to support municipal services.”