NBC is known as the Peacock Network, but it is Netflix that did some peacocking of their own at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena on Sunday morning.
Because Netflix is a streaming network, measuring the ratings their programs receive is difficult for a third-party independent. Netflix likes to keep mum on how many and how often people stream their shows, but recently NBCUniversal’s head of research, Alan Wurtzel, provided ratings estimates for a handful of Netflix's original series. Those figures included Marvel's Jessica Jones, which supposedly averaged 4.8M viewers in the key 18-49 demographic.
That didn't sit well with Neflix, and its chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, fired back. "So there’s a couple of mysteries in play for me," Sarandos began (via Entertainment Weekly). "One is why would NBC use their lunchtime [press conference] to talk about our ratings. Maybe cause it’s more fun to talk [about] than NBC’s ratings. The second is, the whole methodology and the measurement and the data itself doesn’t reflect any sense of reality of anything that we keep track of. That could be because 18-49 year old viewing is so insignificant to us. I can’t even tell you how many 18-49 members we have. We don’t track them. It’s an advertising-driven demographic that means nothing to us. I don’t know why anybody would be spending so much energy and time and given what I believe is remarkably inaccurate data … I don’t understand the methodology of it. The outputs don’t reflect any reality that we track."
Sarandos believes traditional networks focus far too much on week-to-week ratings, which can put undue pressure on the talent. "There’s a very natural inclination to say, relative to this show, this [other] show’s a failure," he said. "That puts a lot of pressure on the talent that we don’t want … if we turn it into a weekly arms race by doing box scores for every [Nielsen-issued ratings report, we’re] going to have the same result as it’s had on [traditional] television, which I think has been remarkably negative in terms of the quality of shows."
Daredevil season 2 arrives on Netflix March 18, 2016.