Netflix got its chance to respond to a series of criticisms this week from the competition.
Earlier this week at the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles, NBC’s research executive Alan Wurtzel reported to journalists that the network had potentially engineered a way to closely estimate the amount of viewers for Netflix’s original series.
On Sunday, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that their numbers are “remarkably inaccurate” and then joked about the network’s obsession with the streaming company’s ratings.
“There’s a couple of mysteries in play for me,” Sarandos said. “One is, why would NBC use their lunch slot with you guys to talk about our ratings? Maybe it’s because it’s more fun than talking about NBC ratings.”
As an aside, NBC is currently the No. 1 broadcast network in the ratings most important to advertisers: viewers aged 18 to 49 years old.
Sarandos went on to explain how ratings “make no significant affect” on the streaming giant’s business, as their business model depends on subscriber numbers not ad sales according to viewership. He also added that if they did start to report numbers for their shows, it would be bad for business.
“If we turn it into a weekly box score, like TV, it will be negative,” he said, explaining that unlike with TV networks, if fans thought their favourite shows were in danger of being canceled by Netflix they would leave the service.
“It only takes one press of a button to cancel Netflix,” Sarandos said, revealing that the service has 70 million subscribers, 43 million of those are from the US.
Also this week, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf hinted at Netflix’s lack of need to be profitable and therefore it has the ability to overspend on original content. He had revealed that FX wanted Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None,” but that Netflix outbid them for the show.
Sarandos explained that Netflix’s profitability comes from its international business and not its original content. That said, Netflix’s model, again unlike TV’s need to bring in broad audience numbers, allows the streaming company to produce shows with certain viewers in mind.
“We make shows for 2 million viewers and we make shows for 20 million viewers,” he said.
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