When it comes to ratings, streaming outlets have notoriously kept everyone but themselves in the dark — especially Netflix. Sometimes they occasionally let slip their own numbers, like when Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos suggested “subscribers [had] spent half a billion hours watching Adam Sandler movies since The Ridiculous Six launched” in 2015. Otherwise, third-party analytics contracted by news outlets and rival networks alike have tried repeatedly to crack Netflix’s code in order to get a handle on just how popular its original programming is.
Hence why a new report on Netflix’s stand-up comedy output should be taken with a grain of salt. According to Business Insider, an internal company letter to shareholders revealed “early results are promising” for its bolstered comedy efforts:
“The triumphant return of a comedy legend in Dave Chappelle: Collection 1 was our most viewed comedy special ever. We are also finding this to be true in international markets as well, with comedian Gad Elmaleh’s Gad Gone Wild, a breakout hit in France last quarter.”
Of course, to say that Chappelle’s Deep in the Heart of Texas and The Age of Spin were popular among subscribers would be a gross understatement. On the eve of their release, both specials and the Chappelle’s Show star began trending on Twitter — and remained at the top in the days that followed. So despite Netflix’s secretive approach to monitoring the popularity of its original content, that the comic’s arrival on the scene amounted to what Sarandos dubbed a “big event in the culture” isn’t too surprising.
What also isn’t surprising, however, is the company’s reticence to release actual numbers to back up its “most viewed comedy special ever.” This would not only provide context for the letter’s claim and Sarandos’ enthusiasm for stand-up comedy, but it would also help determine Netflix’s standing when compared with Comedy Central and HBO. Then again, this would provide the streaming giant’s traditional competitors with viable insider information, so Chappelle’s numbers will likely never see the light of day.
(Via Business Insider)