Netflix Won't Release Streaming Numbers for 'Lilyhammer' Because There's No Good Reason To Release Them

Categories: New TV Technology

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February 7th, 2012

Deadline has a story bemoaning  that Netflix won't release streaming numbers for the debut of 'Lillyhammer.' Included in the sory is several paragraphs of a memo from a Netflix executive explaining why it's not releasing numbers.  Loosely translated that explanation boils down to "Uh, why should we? Those numbers don't matter?"  Actually what it really says, effectively, is that how many people watched yesterday doesn't mean anything to how many people will watch over time.

I've got no problem with that, and whether that winds up being accurate in the long run, it's certainly plausible for now.  It's reasonable to infer that well under a million (out of 23 million) Netflix subscribers watched any 'Lilyhamer' the first day it was available. But since Netflix doesn't sell advertising it doesn't really matter whether 300,000 or 30,000 watched any of it yesterday, and I'm not sure anything could be made of 'Lilyhammer's'  value to Netflix based on those numbers even if it released them.

Deadline's Nellie Andreeva writes that Netflix "should provide cumulative streaming data over time" and while I certainly *wish* it would do just that, that's not the same as thinking it *should.* In fact, I think it probably shouldn't release the data unless it plans to release a lot of other shows' data and I can' think of any reason it should do that. What would cumulative streaming data tell us without some kind of apples-to-apples comparison to other titles available on Netflix?

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