Netflix Numbers Coming? TV Execs Really Want To Know

We still don’t know how many people watch a particular Netflix show -- but we’re getting closer.

For some time now, Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix, has declined to reveal any viewing information for shows on the subscription video-on-demand service.

But he tipped his hand some recently. He said Netflix shows “are [among] the most watched shows on television.” He didn’t say what shows, or reveal any other details.

At the recent UBS Global Media conference, John Hodulik, media analyst at UBS, said HBO had the number-one most-viewed show with “Game of Thrones" according to new audience analysis Nielsen had shared with him,. Netflix had the “second best show” -- though Hodulik didn’t disclose what that was.

“I bet they were wrong,” responded Sarandos.  “I bet we were number one.” He believes Nielsen can’t track all the 700 some-odd devices capable of getting video around the world. “They don’t measure all the devices,” he said.



Mind you, Sarandos still doesn’t want to play the ratings game -- which ironically is something HBO, now a competitor, and even MTV looked to avoid in their respective early days.

But Netflix might get to a size where, like those channels, it would be beneficial to tout numbers, in order to push independent-minded TV producers to consider producing Netflix shows as well as to to drive more viewer subscriptions.

Now in around 42 million U.S. homes, Netflix would seem to have much more room to grow -- looking at the potential overall U.S. TV market of 116.4 million homes.

Right now, Nielsen is taking up the challenge of those numbers, looking to ramp up its Total TV viewing research, which will include traditional TV viewing, ad-supported streaming, as well as subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix. Some of this data could be released in a few months.

Nielsen has already been sharing early data with TV/movie studios who pay Nielsen for current TV and other research.

Nielsen aside, we get the sense Sarandos, like any good executive cheerleader, is itching to tell us something more TV-centric about Netflix shows -- viewing data that no one else has. All this to show Netflix TV shows are seen by more people than those shows by the competition.

7 comments about "Netflix Numbers Coming? TV Execs Really Want To Know".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 10, 2015 at 9:45 a.m.

    Interestingly, I just finished analyzing data indicating what broadcast network, syndicated and basic cable shows Netflix users watch, relative to the total population. This will be part of a new report in our upcoming edition of "TV Dimensions", and, I must say, the findings will be surprising to many who assume that the Netflix audience is comple6tely turned off by traditional TV fare.

  2. Gene Thomas from Telecom Consult, December 10, 2015 at 12:46 p.m.

    A really big and serious point is missed here. Many customers want to get away from tradational TV viewing because the Satellite and cable companies rob you blind every month. How can any business FORCE me to buy somthing I do not want, will not use, hate it yet I am forced to pay for it anyway. Only watch 20 channels maybe but get abot 150 most I NEVER waatch but must to get the other 20?

    How can I go sto a store and buy a roast for say $10 and exit with a bill for $50 being forced to get te other $40 worth of groiceries I do not want and will NEVER eat  either.

    How can the satellite/cable TV business world be like this and get awa with it?

    Why is this NOT criminal>>>forcing me to but something I do not wat to get what I do want??

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 10, 2015 at 1:23 p.m.

    Gene, it's not criminal unless they simply take your money without your knowledge or authorization. You always have the option to say "no" and go broadband-only.

  4. Leonard Zachary from T___n__ replied, December 10, 2015 at 2:36 p.m.

    The general public is turned off the high price of bundled PayTV and rtelated cable box exeperience. At the right price, yes Netflix is at the right price. Better user exepereince and the quality of original Netflix programming is on the HBO level. 

  5. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, December 10, 2015 at 2:39 p.m.

    It's criminal if its the only pipe into the house. But now we have Broadband and its criminal to charge on a data per G model. Broadband is the competition.

  6. Leonard Zachary from T___n__ replied, December 10, 2015 at 2:41 p.m.

    It's criminal when China pays pennies for the same programming that Americans pay $$$$.

  7. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, December 10, 2015 at 2:47 p.m.

    Bye Bye Legacy TV when the most watched shows are somewhere else....not PayTV bundles.

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