Netflix Maintains Position on Lack of Ratings

Television Critics Association
On July 28, the Television Critics Association (TCA) summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California, was all about Netflix.

During a panel, representatives from the streaming service weighed in on a number of topics, and many attempted to get them to comment on internal ratings and viewer measurement.

“You’d have to put me on a stretch rack and it would get really ugly because we don’t want people to get distracted with the numbers,” said Todd Yellin, VP of Product Innovation. “We are very proprietary about the secret sauce about how we weigh different things in the algorithms because there’s been a lot of sweat and a lot of labor to get there.

“Rating counts a little bit in our algorithms but it’s not as important as history,” Yellin added. “Not just what I watched yesterday but how much did I watch of what I watched yesterday? What I watched last month? A year ago? How long did I wait? ... The data we use helps inform the process to make great programming but it’s one facet. A lot of is old-fashioned creativity and good taste and smart choices.”

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos also commented on the matter, emphasizing that the original shows are not competing against each other.

“The reason we don’t line them against one another is it’s not the intent to draw the biggest audience from any single show,” said Sarandos. “None of those shows are designed for or built to attract the entire 65 million subscriber base.

“You can feel it in the culture that these shows are getting a big, broad audience, not only in the U.S., but around the world,” Sarandos continued. “[The model is] successful if it attracts that audience segments that we're chasing.”

While critics take issue with the non-disclosure of data, the producers behind the shows are seemingly comfortable with how Netflix operates.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Tina Fey, executive producer for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” said that compared to working for a television network, “it's very free to be free of [the traditional] rating system, for sure.”

Stephen DeKnight, the showrunner for season one of “Marvel’s Daredevil,” stated that overall it was a “liberating” experience.

Netflix’s ratings policy doesn’t seem to be deterring these contributors either. Three new series, including “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” “Club de Cuervos” and Narcos” will premiere over the course of the next month, with many more anticipated for the year to come.

Author: Brian Cameron
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