Showrunners with shows on streaming sites vent about a problem they all share. (And you thought they had it made!?)
via Kathryn VanArendonk & Josef Adalian
For decades, television creators had a pretty good way of finding out if their show was a hit: They could look at the Nielsen ratings, an imperfect, universal system for measuring viewership. Now that question is a lot more difficult to answer because, according to showrunners and producers, the platforms streaming their work share almost no data with them. Third-party measurement companies are springing up to fill the void, but without input from the platforms, they can’t tell the whole story. This means the people who made a show may have little idea how big its audience is and even less of an idea about whether the streamer is happy — right up until the moment the show is renewed or canceled.
Over the past few months, the biggest story in TV has been the sharp downturn of Netflix, with its plummeting stock price, significant layoffs, and whispers of shrinking subscriber numbers. It’s unclear if the company is a bellwether for other platforms and, in this climate, a lack of transparency only makes things tougher for creators. Some do get more info than others — this business runs on relationships, after all. But even if you see a little data, what does any of it mean? How many views is considered enough? Does it matter what kind of viewers you get? What is the goal here?