FX Networks CEO John Landgraf has hit out at Netflix for releasing viewing figures that he claims give “a wildly inaccurate impression” of audience counts for some of the streaming giant’s biggest recent shows.
Figures recently released by Netflix “give the impression that the vast majority of the shows on their platform are working and that they have, or will soon have, many more hits than anyone else” said Landgraf at this week’s Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour in Los Angeles.
If Netflix used traditional audience measurement techniques, “their true batting average would be viewed as unimpressive,” claimed Landgraf, known for his state-of-the-industry presentations at the bi-annual TCA event.
After keeping viewing figures under wraps during its rapid rise to industry dominance, Netflix has recently released a handful of statistics for film and series audience counts.
In its fourth quarter letter to shareholders last month, the streaming giant estimated that Susanne Bier feature Bird Box would reach more than 80m households in its first four weeks on the streaming service. Crime drama series You and British comedy drama Sex Education would each be watched by more than 40m households in their first four weeks, Netflix said, and Spanish original series Elite by 20m households.
British series Bodyguard, Italian original Baby, and Turkish original The Protector were each seen in more than 10m homes, the company also claimed.
In an earnings call with analysts, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the audience figures were “less financial metrics as they are cultural metrics.”
Landgraf suggested that had Netflix used the traditional measure of average audience, You would have averaged approximately 8m viewers an episode in the US and Sex Education just over 3m after two weeks.
The Netflix audience figures, said Landgraf, “undercut an accurate perception of their batting average and misrepresent the number and scale of their hits.”