360° Coverage : Netflix's Brilliant Marketing Tool: Ratings Silence

2 Updates
Netflix's Brilliant Marketing Tool: Ratings Silence
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Netflix's Brilliant Marketing Tool: Ratings Silence

Feb 19 2014, 12:28pm CST | by

On Monday, my colleague Brian Solomon reported that on the first day Netflix released the entire second season of House of Cards, viewership surged 8 times over last year’s first season release...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

35 weeks ago

Netflix's Brilliant Marketing Tool: Ratings Silence

Feb 19 2014, 12:28pm CST | by

On Monday, my colleague Brian Solomon reported that on the first day Netflix released the entire second season of House of Cards, viewership surged 8 times over last year’s first season release. That’s big news for the streaming company. Netflix is built on subscriptions and the more people hear how popular a show is, the more they’re going to want to sign up.

But on closer inspection, the number doesn’t necessarily tell us much. Based on data from broadband optimizing  company Procera, 16% of people from one US cable network watched at least one episode of House of Cards the day it hit Netflix. That was up from 2% for the first season opener.

But which cable network? Comcast has 20 million customers. Cox Communications has 4.4 million. Not all of those people subscribe to Netflix. And can the 16% number be extrapolated to all of Netflix’s subscribers? If so, that means 5.34 million people watched House of Cards the first day.

For the moment, let’s take that as given. Five million viewers is nothing to sneeze at. But to put that into perspective, that’s about the same number of people who watched America’s Funniest Home Videos on ABC Sunday night. By contrast, 13.3 million people watched The Walking Dead that night.

Do 5 million viewers equal the amount of hype surrounding the opening of House of Cards season 2? Maybe. But if Netflix did, in fact, reveal that 5 million people had watched House of Cards the first day, it would have a much bigger problem. Once the company announced viewership for one show, investors would expect it to reveal much more information about how many people are watching.

That could be a disaster for Netflix. House of Cards is the company’s flagship show. There’s no question that the expensive piece of original programming has become part of the zeitgeist and that plenty of people are watching it.

But right now, Netflix is really a one-trick pony when it comes to original programming. Orange is the New Black might have caught fire or it might have just become popular with people in my feminist-leaning social networks. What would happen if Netflix revealed that fewer than 1 million people actually watched Orange is the New Black? They were just the right, chatty, media savvy, 1 million people.

As any TV producer will tell you, creating one hit show is an amazing piece of luck and skill. Creating lots of hit shows is much harder to do.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has been getting a lot of mileage out of throwing shade on HBOFrom a recent New York Times article:

Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, has been routinely provocative. In a recent earnings call, he pointedly tweaked his counterpart at HBO, Richard Plepler. Asked about HBO’s endorsement of password-sharing for its own streaming service, HBO Go, Mr. Hastings joked that perhaps Mr. Plepler wouldn’t “mind me sharing his account information.” He then joked that his rival’s password was “Netflix” followed by an expletive.

But HBO has done what Netflix can only hope to do. It has created a mass of high-quality content. HBO doesn’t just have Game of Thrones. It has Game of Thrones and Girls and True Detective and Boardwalk Empire not to mention made-for-HBO movies like Behind the Candelabra and Game Change. HBO can release its viewer numbers because even if The Newsroom doesn’t do that well, there’s always another show on the way that will do better.

Netflix doesn’t have that – yet. It has impressive subscriber numbers, a high-flying stock and lots of buzz. Keeping that buzz going without letting investors get too close of a look at what’s going on behind the curtain is a great plan for Netflix. At least until it builds up a much stronger bench of original programming.

Follow me on Twitter at DorothyatForbes.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,000 b ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies of MH3 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

India to join Asian infrastructure bank
Beijing, Oct 24 (IANS) Twenty-one Asian countries including India, ready to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as founding members, Friday signed a MoU on establishing the bank.
 
 
Boom in dam construction threatens freshwater biodiversity
London, Oct 24 (IANS) An unprecedented global boom in the construction of hydropower dams, spearhead by developing and emerging economies, could reduce the number of rivers by about 20 percent and pose a serious threat to freshwater biodiversity, says a study.
 
 
Beetroot boosts athletes' performance
New York, Oct 24 (IANS) Forget energy drinks, athletes may now rely on a more organic drink to enhance their performance - beetroot juice.
 
 
Dark shadow of Ebola now a global threat: Trinidad PM
Port-of-Spain, Oct 24 (IANS) The dark shadow of the Ebola has now become "a real and imminent global threat", Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Second MERS case reported in Qatar
Doha, Oct 23 (IANS) A 43-year-old man in Qatar has tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the second confirmed case of the deadly virus in 10 days, media reported Thursday. The patient had...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Two people die in Pakistan bomb blast
Islamabad, Oct 23 (IANS) At least two people were killed and 12 others injured in an explosion that took place in Pakistan's Balochistan province Thursday, media reported. The bomb was planted on a motorcycle, Dawn...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Trott extends contract with Warwickshire till 2017
London, Oct 23 (IANS) England batsman Jonathan Trott, whose mental issues led to his abrupt departure from last winter's Ashes tour, has confirmed his successful comeback to competitive cricket by signing a new three-...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap big movers in BWF rankings
Kuala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings released Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Alvin Stardust dead
London, Oct 23 (IANS) English singer Alvin Stardust died after a short illness. He was 72. Stardust's manager confirmed the news about his demise Thursday, reports mirror.co.uk. He was recently diagnosed with...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Indian man reunited with family after 40 years
Dubai, Oct 23 (IANS) An Indian man, who had disappeared from his hometown in Kerala nearly 40 years ago, has been found by his family at a hospital in Dubai in the UAE, a newspaper report said. Now in his 60s, Abdulla...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap, Saina rise in world rankings
Kala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest released Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Flintoff signs for Big Bash side Brisbane Heat
Brisbane, Oct 23 (IANS) Former England captain and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who retired from international cricket in 2009, Wednesday confirmed that he will play for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League (BBL) this...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
OPEC daily basket price falls again
Vienna, Oct 23 (IANS/WAM) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) closed at $81.94 a barrel Wednesday compared to $82.09 Tuesday, the OPEC Secretariat said. The new OPEC...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Lopez to sign multi-million dollar deal?
Los Angeles, Oct 23 (IANS) Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez is reportedly in the final stages of securing a multi-million dollar deal to perform in Las Vegas. The 45-year-old is being offered $350,000 per show at The...
Read more on Celebrity Balla