TCA 2019: Netflix Isn’t Telling the Whole Ratings Story, Says FX’s Landgraf

Pasadena, Calif. — Netflix’s ratings are not an accurate representation of their shows’ performance, said John Landgraf, CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions.

“If you dig a little deeper, Netflix is not telling you the whole story,” the exec told a room full of critics Monday at FX’s portion of the TCA winter press tour.

Landgraf cited Netflix’s statement that You will be watched by more than 40 million member households. But that 40 million does not reflect average per episode viewing, which for You comes to an average 8 million viewers per episode, said Landgraf. 

Related: FX Orders Adaptation of 'Y: The Last Man'

"Many Silicon Valley companies have long used metrics based on video views or video starts, which inflates their perceived usage and is not a remotely accurate representation of a long-form program's performance,” he said.

Nielsen has been measuring Netflix since 2017, and the measurement company will soon release numbers for Amazon and Hulu. Landgraf challenged critics to wait for third-party data, like that of Nielsen, instead of going with Netflix’s numbers.

“One way or the other, the truth will ultimately come out as it always does,” he said.

The FX chief also took a swing at the sheer number of shows Netflix produces, referring to the company’s “endless money cannon.”

"When you take hundreds of at bats, you're going to get some singles, some doubles and even the occasional home run,” he said. “And Stranger Things is absolutely a home run."

"The flip side of taking hundreds of at bats is you're also going to get a massive number of strike outs,” he added.

Other highlights from the panel included:

—FX’s annual scripted programming count won’t look the same going forward. ”We think it will make more sense to organize series counts through a program streaming partner,” said Landgraf.

—The Katrina chapter of American Crime Story is no longer in the mix, said Landgraf.

—More American Horror Story is coming. But Landgraf said it’s up to Ryan Murphy to announce what the next iteration is.

—Donald Glover’s Deadpool animated series is not moving forward. “Marvel didn’t want to make it,” said Landgraf.

—Murphy doesn’t have another idea for Feud. But, Landgraf said, FX would welcome another installment of the anthology series if Murphy wants. 

Atlanta writers are back working now. But Glover is “the king of all media” and he is incredibly busy. ”You’ve got to wait.”

—Landgraf addressed the 2020 release date for Y. "The enemy of goodness, of excellence, is time, right? You just simply need more time sometimes if you want to get things right, if you want to take care of them,” he said.

Jessika Walsten

Jessika is an analyst for TVREV and Fabric Media. She previously served in various roles at Broadcasting + Cable, Multichannel News and NextTV, working with the brands since 2013. A graduate of USC Annenberg, Jessika has edited and reported on a variety of subjects in the media and entertainment space, including profiles on industry leaders and breaking news.