During his TCA winter press presentation, NBC-Uni’s Alan Wurtzel revealed ratings for TV series streaming on outlets including Netflix and Amazon. Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix, has fired back, saying the 18-49 demographic numbers cited by Wurtzel are “remarkably inaccurate.”
Reportedly, Netflix will spend six billion dollars this year, on acquired series and original programming like Marvel’s Daredevil, Orange Is the New Black, and the recently renewed Marvel’s Jessica Jones.
“The methodology and the measurement and the data itself doesn’t reflect any sense of reality of anything that we keep track of,” said Sarandos, who noted that the 18-49 demographic that Symphony measured “is so insignificant to us that I can’t even tell you how many 18-49-year-old members we have. … It’s an advertising-driven demographic that means nothing to Netflix.”
Sarandos took a shot at NBC, which in addition to releasing that data said that Netflix doesn’t yet pose a “consistent” threat to broadcasters. “Why would NBC use their lunch slot with you to talk about our ratings? Maybe because it’s more fun than talking about NBC ratings!” said Sarandos of NBC, which is comfortably leading all networks in adults 18-49.
“There is not an apples to apples comparison to Netflix watching and any reported Nielsen rating,” said Sarandos, though as usual, he declined to give any specific metrics. “I do think that once we give a number for a show, then every number will be benchmarked off of that show,” he said, explaining that some Netflix series are “built for 2 million people” while others are “built for 30 million … that puts a lot of creative pressure on the talent that we don’t want to.”
Here is more, from Variety:
The company’s on-demand platform and subscription-based business model means that it does not have to court advertisers and does not court a specific demographic — another reason why the 18-49 estimates offered by NBC are “insignificant” for a service with 43 million domestic subscribers and 70 million in total worldwide.
“We are running a global network, one that is not easily comparable, either in business or in cultural terms, to anything that’s come before,” Sarandos said.
To wit, Sarandos said he didn’t even know offhand how many of its members fall into the 18-49 demo. For Netflix, the “personalization” factor is the driving force, which means it needs a broad range of shows, from kids programs to edgy adult dramas, to ensure users keep paying $10 a month.
What do you think? Do you appreciate that Netflix TV shows are not at the mercy of the 18-49 ratings demographic? What are your favorite Netflix TV series?