Netflix Promises More Viewership Data As Part Of Greater “Transparency”, Ted Sarandos Says

ted sarandos
Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos watching the world carefully. Shutterstock

If Hell hasn’t frozen over today, it got distinctly colder as Netflix brass promised to start revealing a lot more of their actual viewership.

“Over the next several months, we’re going to be rolling out more specific and granular data and reporting, Ted Sarandos said on Tuesday following the first quarter earnings report by the streamer. “First to our producers, then our members and, of course, to the press over time and be more fully transparent about what people are watching on Netflix around the world.

The statement by the Chief Content Officer comes after Netflix dropped a few more data details about how its Umbrella Academy superhero series, the Frye Festival documentary and the Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson- led The Highwaymen film did.

Besides numbers for the Sandra Bullock starring Bird Box, the Ben Affleck-led Triple Frontier and a few other shows, the streamer has vigorously kept the data vault locked on who is watching its original content from House of Cards to whatever was released last week in what numbers. In that context, today’s promise could be a real and even necessary shift for Netflix as it seeks to put down a larger global footprint and faces new competitors in the digital arena.

Of course, previous transparency attempts, such as the January declaration that 26 million subscribers watched Bird Box in its first week on the platform, also brought raised eyebrows and cynical reaction on if the numbers were real, estimated or based on significant viewing – criticisms Sarandos seemed intent today on shifting as well.

“We are trying to get to a place where we can be a lot more transparent both with our producers and with our customers, who are incredibly interested in making better choices, Sarandos noted on the just over half hour earnings call with CEO Reed Hastings and other execs this afternoon. “A lot of times that’s influenced heavily by what the world’s watching.”

To that end, Hastings had his own perspective.

We’re just beginning to share that data as Ted mentioned and we’ll be leaning into that more quarter by quarter,” the CEO of the debt heavy streamer proclaimed “The real metric is can we keep our members happy and grow that subscriber base as we did so strongly in Q1.”

Earlier today, Netflix revealed its highest quarterly paid net adds in its history with 9.6 million new subscribers at home and around the world.

Drilling down, that growth comes after a recent price hike and with looming competition on the event horizon. In fact, the Q1 results were well above the 8.9 million net additional paid subscribers that Netflix had projected itself earlier. All of which means that SVOD has 148.9 million subscribers overall.

The growth breaks down as 1.74 million new subs in the U.S. and 7.86 million internationally – the latter being where Reed, Ted and crew have decided to truly plant their flag in the brewing battle with Apple, Disney+ and more.

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