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Netflix’s Sarandos Returns Landgraf’s Fire

Related: Netflix 4Q Earnings Lower; Revenues Slow

Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix, returned a few shots from his traditional TV competitors during the streaming company’s fourth quarter earnings call Tuesday.

Responding to FX Networks CEO John Landgraf, who accused Netflix of being able to spend significantly more money for shows because it doesn’t worry about earnings, Sarandos said “the only reason we have shock and awe spending . . . is because we get shock and awe viewing.”

Sarandos added that when it comes to content, “overspending is relative. If The Get Down and The Crown are successful, it’s money well spent.” He named two series that Netflix outbid its rivals for.

During the video earnings call, Sarandos also tweaked the broadcast companies that have been calling for Netflix to release ratings to back up their claims of high viewership. Sarandos said NBC and other networks would rather talk about Netflix’s viewer numbers “instead of talking about what’s happening at their own networks.”

NBC presented some estimates of the audiences for Netflix shows during the Television Critics Association's press tour, but Sarandos said “the data didn’t feel very true to us.”

He added that the talent that works on shows for Netflix isn’t upset about the lack of audience metrics. “The talent is happy not to focus on ratings,” he said.

Sarandos also said that while there’s been a lot of talk in the press about a new agreement with The CW not being done yet, he said a deal is “just in the process of negotiation.” He said the talks weren’t behind normal timing. “We’d like to make that deal work,” he said, “We’d like to continue it.”

He added that The CW shows on Netflix now would continue to be there through their run.