Netflix Metrics: No Ratings, But Focus On Trophy Hardware

Success metrics for Netflix’s original TV shows don’t come the usual ways -- not via U.S.-based ratings, nor about Netflix shows versus other TV shows.

Metrics are more about usage against a full range of media, according to the company. "The reason we do big TV shows is that we're not just competing with ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ on ABC,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, during the Television Critics Tour. “We're competing with Pokémon Go. We're competing with ‘Star Wars’ movies and ‘Jurassic World.’ We're competing for attention in a really noisy world."

Even Netflix is getting noisy. With a $6 billion TV and film development budget, Netflix is looking at a massive list of 40 overall series by the end of the year.



But don’t measure Netflix just on ratings. Sarandos hates that stuff --  because Netflix has no need for it. It doesn’t sell advertising. And it has other data to measure success. But Netflix has yet to disclose what that data is.

It might have something to do with the fact that Netflix is a digital SVOD service with big global reach. Might then global TV ratings work?

Major TV media companies measure success in plain-Jane ways. They’ll be happy to explain that in dollars and cents to stock market analysts. Think of all the CBS dramas (as well other TV content producers shows) that  have been sold overseas and to digital platforms, U.S. syndication and other video services.

Still Netflix doesn’t hate all U.S.-based media measures.  There is one U.S metric Sarandos likes, and that all consumers can understand: Trophy hardware. Sarandos said 17 Netflix TV series, films and specials took home 54 Emmy nominations -- more than a 50% increase from 2015. He refers to this a lot.

Well, there we have it -- the secret is out. Recognition from industry peers seems to be the measure of success not just in the traditional TV space, but now (and I guess in the future) for the digital TV-video space.

Maybe as time goes on, other serious metrics will surface: Whether Netflix gets more customers than, say, a new game like Pokémon Go gets; or higher views versus movie theater box office tickets that are sold. Perhaps there will be be high Netflix “noise” levels -- like the clinking of trophy metal.

3 comments about "Netflix Metrics: No Ratings, But Focus On Trophy Hardware".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 8, 2016 at 3:53 p.m.

    I wonder if Netflix shares streaming data on a show by show basis with its program suppliers----but, somehow I doubt it? Whether Netflix sells ads or not----maybe later----the new Nielsen data on its viewership is, in fact, relevant to its producers as it affects their negotiations with Netflix over license fees and  others----the TV networks, cable channels, etc. as they are all competing for audiences whether Netflix likes it or not. Also, what happens to the shows once Netflix is done with them? Do they get syndicated to other platforms like most other shows? If so, aren't ratings an important buying and selling tool for such content? Of course they are.

  2. Suzanne Sell from Independent, August 8, 2016 at 4 p.m.

    Global ratings? Dream on.

  3. Marc Schcher from MSS consulting, August 9, 2016 at 1:16 p.m.

    Netflix surely does have metrics by show. But it's to their advantage not to real ease them . Their business is about content that drives subs..... That's all that matters to them. They don't even want the distraction of a discussion about individual show viewership 

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