Netflix’s lack of transparency when it comes to its show viewership has certainly been under the microscope during the current Television Critics Association press tour.
Earlier this week, NBC reported to journalists that it had potentially engineered a way to closely estimate the amount of viewers for Netflix’s original series.
On Saturday at TCA, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf, who has been pushing for Netflix viewing numbers for years, told journalists that Netflix’s level of secrecy doesn’t make sense to him.
“I think it’s ridiculous that we don’t have usage numbers from Netflix,” Landgraf said. “We can all agree that there’s probably some data that a National Security apparatus has the right to keep secret that’s important for our national security. I don’t know that I feel the same way about television usage data.”
As for NBC’s numbers for Netflix ratings, Landgraf reserved his approval of the findings. He called them “directional more than anything else” and didn’t feel they’re “rigorous” enough.
During the panel, Landgraf revealed that FX wanted Aziz Ansari comedy “Master of None,” but Netflix overwhelmed them with more money and other commitments FX couldn’t beat. Yet, he challenged the streaming company’s bottom line versus that of more traditional TV networks.
“There’s a perception that’s very carefully cultivated by Silicon Valley that essentially they’re going to take over everything, they don’t have to be held to the same standards in terms of earnings because you’re buying the future.”
He then added, “So, we have to return a profit to our shareholders and our board of directors and we have to grow that profit year in and year out; and nobody pays attention to the profitability of many of our competitors.”
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