Netflix is notoriously secretive with its comprehensive data on how many people are watching its shows. It hardly ever releases that information to the public.
And while Nielsen, the company that tracks TV viewership, has recently begun to collect data on Netflix, that data is only available to studios that are Nielsen customers, according to The Wall Street Journal.
We are in the dark — but we aren’t the only ones.
Netflix keeps its numbers so close to the vest that even the people who make their shows have no idea how many people are watching, except maybe by checking the Twitter buzz.
In a recent interview with Business Insider’s Jason Guerrasio, Cary Fukunaga, the director of Netflix’s first original film “Beasts of No Nation,” said there’s a strict policy of silence around viewership.
“That’s their MO, to not release numbers,” Fukunaga said. But eventually Fukunaga says he accosted Netflix’s head of content Ted Sarandos to try to get some answers. In a move that seems straight out of a thriller, Fukunaga kept naming numbers until Sarandos finally nodded.
Tina Fey, who was the co-creator of the Netflix show “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” echoed this sentiment. When she was asked if she knew how many people were watching her show, she said she had no idea, according to the Journal.
Netflix has always prided itself on the way it uses data.
“We are just a learning machine,” CEO Reed Hastings said. “Every time we put out a new show, we are analysing it, figuring out what worked and what didn’t so we get better next time.”
And, no doubt, Netflix’s leadership doesn’t want to just give out that data to the public without a purpose.
Netflix, after all, did end up releasing a few numbers on “Beasts of No Nation.” After acknowledging that Netflix “famously” doesn’t share these type of statistics, Sarandos said the movie had over 3 million views in North America alone about two weeks after release.
Why? Probably to dispel rumours that no one was watching the film.
Netflix will tell you how many people are watching its shows — when it feels like you need to know.
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