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The Streamable Search

Netflix’s Head of Original Films Says Company Will Start Releasing Viewership Data in Near Future

Stephanie Sengwe

For as long as its been running, Netflix has been quite coy about releasing its viewership numbers. For the most part, the streaming giant has released data on subscribers and some of its original films and shows. But according to the company’s head of original films, Scott Stuber, Netflix’s tight-lipped policy is eventually going to come to an end.

During Variety‘s Innovate Summit, Stuber told the magazine’s editor-in-chief Claudia Eller, “You’ll see more numbers from us, more transparency, more articulation of what’s working and not,” he stated. “Because we recognize it’s important, sometimes to the creative community. It’s important to the press. It’s important to everything. So we were definitely headed in that direction as a company.”

Stuber revealed that the reason Netflix has withheld from releasing numbers in the past was because the streaming service business model doesn’t necessarily correspond with how traditional media evaluates the numbers. For example, Stuber argued, if a movie is projected to make a certain number at the box office and then makes less than that, traditionally, it’s considered a failure. However, if the same movie is streamed by millions more, those numbers are not factored in.

“If [an] asset is perceived as a failure and then four weeks later or five weeks later I put it into an ecosystem where 50 million people watch it, it’s a giant hit for me,” he explained. “But now my consumer has been told by you [in the press] that is a failure when that’s not the full business story. We’re not hiding anything. I just want it to be articulated correctly to protect the filmmaker and protect the movie because [box office is] not the whole business for us.”

Nonetheless, Stuber assured audiences that Netflix is working on ways to reconcile these differences and be more transparent with users.