Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos has been forced to talk about something that the streaming service has always been quite content not to discuss: its ratings. But that didn’t mean the company was finally willing to reveal how many people were watching its shows.
At a Television Critics Association press event on Sunday, Sarandos merely wanted to knock down the buzz generated by NBC Universal’s Alan Wurtzel, who said last week that he had viewership data for adults age 18-49 for Netflix shows “Jessica Jones” (4.8 million), “Master of None” (3.9 million), and “Narcos” (3.2 milion). The numbers were collected in a user sample study by San Francisco tech firm Symphony.
Wurtzel also cited 2.1 million adults in the same demographic were watching Amazon’s “Man in the High Castle” in the months around its premiere, The Hollwood Reporter said.
“Given what is really remarkably inaccurate data, I hope they didn’t spend any money on it,” Sarandos said of the numbers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s a couple mysteries at play for me. Why would NBC use their lunch slot to talk about our ratings? Maybe because it’s more fun than talking about NBC ratings. … The methodology doesn’t reflect any sense of reality we keep track of.”
Sarandos also said, “I can’t even tell you how many 18-49 users we have … we don’t track them,” and added that the numbers “wouldn’t even be relevant to his business if they were true.”
As Business Insider notes, the Netflix business model depends on subscriber numbers not ad sales according to viewership.