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Fox Chief Claims Netflix Ratings A “Myth”

FX Networks CEO, John Landgraf, has taken aim at Netflix’s rating numbers, ahead of FX joining Disney studios, claiming the streaming giant is misrepresenting its success.

“Netflix is not telling you the whole story,” Landgraf stated, at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, taking bold aim at one of television’s biggest competitors.

Credit: Photo by David Buchan/Variety

Landgraf has accused the streaming giant of playing unfair by self-reporting its own ratings instead of using Nielsen metrics, the industry-standard for television networks.

Recently, Netflix claimed that its original series You — originally aired on US network Lifetime — was set to be “watched by over 40 million member households” in its first four weeks on the platform.

Landgraf took issues with the number, claiming that Netflix count households that watch only part of an episode — Netflix counts views up to 70% of any title — rather than only counting total viewership per episode.

If Nielson metrics were applied to the data, Landgraf claimed it would be closer to eight million viewers per episode, still impressive but not the colossal feat that Netflix reported.

Netflix’s metrics create a “myth“, he said, that most of the platform’s shows are hits when they endure a large number of misses.

The FX chief is known for questioning Netflix’s influence on the creative community and its approach to programming, but he also criticised “Silicon Valley companies”, specifically Google and Facebook.

He complained of what he called the “monopolistic” hold that the tech industry’s “endless money canons” have on studios and how that can influence a show’s success or failure.

His comments are surprising in light of FX’s soon-to-be-parent company Walt Disney recently acquired 20th Century Fox assets including its film studios, a move which many saw as “monopolistic”.

Landgraf did admit that he isn’t completely against streaming content or platforms and stated he is “really grateful” and “excited” that FX will be working with a streaming platform, likely the upcoming Disney+.

He admitted it would be “problematic” if FX didn’t work with a “major streaming service.”

Disney is also expected to reveal its streaming service Disney+ to investors on April 11th and launching later 2019 to customers.

Netflix lost its rights to stream Disney content at the close fo 2018, with Disney inking deals with Stan and Foxtel locally, although some perceive the Stan deal to be a “placeholder” until Disney+ lands.

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