Blockbuster is Finished, but Netflix Still Hires Actors to Pose as Fans at Press Event

netflix-body.jpgReports indicating that Blockbuster is set to file for bankruptcy this week caused its stocks to plummet 31 percent. You'd think this news would make Netflix a little more secure, but apparently not. In an embarrassing publicity stunt gone awry, Netflix was caught paying extras to pose as fans and give interviews to the press at an event celebrating their expansion to Canada.

Even better, the company asked for the actors to play specific types including "mothers, film buffs, tech geeks, couch potatoes etc." Seems like someone could have taken that "etc" to a pretty fun place, but no videos of bums or pirates talking up Netflix have appeared on the internet yet.

Extras were also handed information sheets with instructions "to look really excited, particularly if asked by media to do any interviews about the prospect of Netflix in Canada." Netflix vice president of corporate communications Steve Swasey has issued an apology and a convoluted explanation which involves the company making a fake documentary in order to obtain a permit for the press event.

Pretty embarrassing. Then again, the entire company of Blockbuster is now worth only $12 million, while their debt hovers somewhere around $900 million.

· Netflix apologizes for using actors to meet press at Canadian launch [Globe and Mail]

· Blockbuster stock falls as bankruptcy looms [Hollywood Reporter]