Netflix aiming to be more open about data, says Reed Hastings

Screen | 9/20/2019 | Staff
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Netflix is aiming to shed its reputation for secrecy, according to chief executive Reed Hastings.

Delivering the keynote at the Royal Television Society (RTS) conference in Cambridge, he admitted that Netflix has been “guilty of being simplistic” in the past in areas like data-sharing and rights flexibility.

£40m - Revenue - Blockbuster - £4bn - Fight

“We’re trying to grow up a little,” he went on to say. “When we went public in 2002, we were $50m (£40m) in revenue and Blockbuster was $5bn (£4bn). We had a long fight that we barely came out of and learnt to be defensive about hiding information. But the things that made us successful can then trip us up over time.”

He added that he would be happy for the SVoD to be measured by Barb (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board), which measures television ratings, in line with other UK broadcasters.

One - Measurement - Degree - Industry - Barb

“No one wants to rely on us to do our own measurement. To a strong degree, it would good for us and the industry to be on the Barb panel.”

Since January, Netflix has been releasing top 10 lists each month of its most viewed shows per territory, but Hastings said more could be done. He conceded, however, that it is “ultimately up to Barb”.

BBC - Head - TV - Strategy - Becky

BBC head of TV strategy Becky Marvell recently took Netflix to task for a “lack of context and transparency” in its ratings data.

Several senior production sector figures have reported at RTS that Netflix has become far more flexible on rights and is no longer seeking total-IP ownership.

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