Though Nielsen claimed to provide its first glimpse into TV ratings on Netflix — including, for instance, that the premiere episode of Orange Is The New Black was watched by 6.7 million viewers stateside the weekend following its release — Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos refused to confirm these figures and said the company would continue to keep such stats close to the vest.
“Subscriber growth, not ratings, drives our revenue,” he said at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour earlier this week.
At the same time, Sarandos addressed Netflix’s disappointing subscriber growth in the second quarter — which it attributed to price increases on accounts that had previously been ‘grandfathered’. “We are growing,” Netflix wrote in a letter to shareholders, “but not as fast as we would like or have been.” Nevertheless, Sarandos said — per Deadline — that subscriber growth had outpaced expectations in the first quarter and Netflix is set to double down on content spend. The company, which is spending $6 billion on content this year, will spend even more in 2017, he said, with an exact budget to be determined later this year.
While Sarandos declined to elaborate on ratings, he did provide insight into some of Netflix’s most popular shows, according to Deadline, which include Orange Is The New Black, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Breaking Bad, Gilmore Girls — and most recently, Stranger Things. While every single original Netflix series has been picked up for a second season thus far, according to Deadline, Sarandos offered no comment on additional episodes of Stranger Things. “We always want to take some time to be thoughtful about the [renewal] process,” he said.
Of follow-up seasons, Sarandos said that the company is striving to shorten the window of time between seasons of popular shows — though that also runs the risk of short-changing overall quality. And in order to get new shows on the air as fast as possible, Netflix is piloting new distribution strategies, including releasing Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down series in two halves, and premiering two seasons of Ashton Kutcher sitcom The Ranch in one year.
For more from Sarandos’ presentation, check out Deadline’s report right here.