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Television Businesses The Internet

Tension Escalates Between Netflix and Its TV Foes (nytimes.com) 302

An anonymous reader writes: Viewership numbers are vital within the TV industry. For years, the networks have relied upon ratings to make money — higher numbers mean higher ad revenue. The most important part of the ratings system is that individual networks can't just claim whatever viewership they want; third-party companies like Nielsen control the stats. But Netflix doesn't operate by the same rulebook, and this is frustrating the networks. Execs from Netflix and various networks have started arguing about it, both at an industry event this weekend, and in media interviews. NBC had hired a firm to estimate Netflix's viewership numbers, because Netflix won't release them. Netflix says the estimate is laughably wrong, but has also suggested shows fare better on their platform than on cable or broadcast television. If true, it gives them leverage to recruit more and better talent to produce such shows. But it's impossible to refute without numbers, and the networks are increasingly annoyed they can't do that. NBC thinks the media tends to give Netflix a pass on these statements. FX chief John Landgraf said, "[Netflix's Ted Sarandos] shouldn't say something is successful in quantitative terms unless you're willing to provide data and a methodology behind those statements. You can't have it both ways."
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Tension Escalates Between Netflix and Its TV Foes

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  • Meanwhile... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 18, 2016 @09:46AM (#51321935)

    My pirating escalates as well. I don't NEED either of you, so if you're going to raise the price and/or give me less to watch, I'm going to take it for free and own it indefinitely. Your choice.

    • Re:Meanwhile... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 18, 2016 @09:52AM (#51321971)

      You don't need to pay them, but you do need them to make the content. So, you need someone to pay them. Therefore, you should promote an environnement that results in at least one of them getting paid.

      In conclusion, while it makes no difference whether you pay or not, it's in your interest to convince everyone else that paying is a good idea.

      Just as in democracy, where voting has practically no effect but convincing many others to vote for your side can be interesting.

      • Re: Meanwhile... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:20AM (#51322111)

        Easy choice.

        He who doth not innundate me with commercials will be the one I choose to pay.

        The only way I will tolerate commercials is if they are placed at the beginning or the end of the programming. I'm sure many others feel the same.

        Cable / Satellite providers: You had best take that last sentence to heart if you wish to remain a choice at all.

        • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@nosPaM.gmail.com> on Monday January 18, 2016 @11:09AM (#51322421) Homepage Journal

          The only way I will tolerate commercials is if they are placed at the beginning or the end of the programming.

          Providers can accommodate the letter of your request by redefining "the programming" as a single act of the play (or screenplay or teleplay), or what would become a single chapter of the DVD, or the like, and then deeming a whole movie to become a playlist of several such "programmings". Would that satisfy you?

          • by Zaelath ( 2588189 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @03:21PM (#51324377)

            I always find semantics works really well for making customers happy.

          • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @05:16PM (#51325245)

            Providers can accommodate the letter of your request by redefining "the programming" as a single act of the play (or screenplay or teleplay), or what would become a single chapter of the DVD, or the like, and then deeming a whole movie to become a playlist of several such "programmings". Would that satisfy you?

            It would not. The same practice under a different name would just put the final nail in their own coffin.

            Can you imagine how much the movie industry would suffer if they stopped the film every fifteen minutes so they can feed you ads about what medications you should be asking your doctor about ? Or why driving a $manly-vehicle in $state is manly ? No one would go. The movie industry would implode overnight.

            If television wanted to emulate the movie approach where they set aside the advertising block ahead of the main show, I would be cool with that. Or, they could do it at the end of the show. Would be cool with that too.

            Sprinkled within the show every ten minutes or so ? Not so much.

            • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
              They actually do this for programs aimed at young children, for example Nick Jr. or Disney's equivalent channel. PBS also does this on their Sprouts channel. No "real" commercials, but what they have is between programs.
      • Re: Meanwhile... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Pirating created avenues like Netflix in the first place...the goal was to put up a lot of media cheaper than the effort to pirate it.

        We are soon approaching the point where pirating is better again. If people go back to pirating in droves, a new Netflix will come on to fix the problem. You can't stop pirating, but you can make your service good/cheap enough for people not to pirate.

        • Re: Meanwhile... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Vanderhoth ( 1582661 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:46AM (#51322267)
          Actually Netflix originated from how shitty Blockbuster was. The creator of Netflix rented movies from Blockbuster frequently, and was often charged late fees. Even after Blockbuster "did away" with late fees. I think the anecdote goes, he returned a movie and was charged a late fee. Upon complaining to the employee, the employee said, "You can always start your own video rental store", so he did.

          He created Netflix, which started as a mail order rental business with no late fees. It got popular because Blockbuster was shit and was really the only major chain renting movies at the time. Once Netflix went online, along with the rising popularity of pirated movies, it was all down hill for Blockbuster.

          I for one was glad to see Blockbuster die, and I'm even happier to see cable die. Netflix is doing good with their original content and has a good selection of overall (and I'm Canadian using the Canadian Netflix). The wife and I cut our cords over a year ago now. We get a lot of content from Netflix now (mostly for our 4 yr old) and use Kodi for a few cable programs Netflix doesn't have that we enjoy. Being on the East coast I got tired of paying cable fees for the three or four shows a season we watch that were always on so late it was a struggle to decide if we stay up to watch them and be exhausted the next day or go to bed early and skip watching TV. Sleeping often won and we eventually just got rid of cable since it was expensive and we didn't use it.

          The problem now is our cable provider is also our internet provider (There's only two ISPs in our area) and they're just jacking up internet prices to compensate for the drop in cable subscriptions. They'll get their money one way or the other. Eventually they'll probably charge Netflix, on top of us, to deliver their content so they'll get paid on both ends as the middle man.
          • They'll get their money one way or the other. Eventually they'll probably charge Netflix, on top of us, to deliver their content so they'll get paid on both ends as the middle man.

            I could be wrong, but isn't that illegal under current laws?

          • Actually Netflix originated from how shitty Blockbuster was. The creator of Netflix rented movies from Blockbuster frequently, and was often charged late fees. Even after Blockbuster "did away" with late fees. I think the anecdote goes, he returned a movie and was charged a late fee. Upon complaining to the employee, the employee said, "You can always start your own video rental store", so he did.

            Netflix did a classic " eliminate the expensive low value features while adding new ones that people re willing to pay for..." strategy. They avoided the expense of a lot of brick and mortar locations that had limited catalogues by offering a large selection of DVD's by mail and turning around the orders quickly. Since they were shipping from multiple locations they could also better tailor their inventory to demand since they didn't have to stock a bunch of the latest releases, trying to accurately estimat

          • Eventually they'll probably charge Netflix, on top of us, to deliver their content so they'll get paid on both ends as the middle man.

            You mean already. Or if you're in around 90% of the US you would.

        • Re: Meanwhile... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @12:32PM (#51323043)

          Netflix, Amazon Prime and Comcast's "X1 on Demand" have now caught up with how I was pirating and watching shows a decade ago. I didn't even know "binge watching" was a thing, I would just get an entire series and watch it and move on to the next series. It's what I've always been asking for but Comcast said "nah, you'll watch it on our schedule". Blockbuster required me to make an additional stop in my my way home. I could queue up a movie before I left work/school and watch it that night.

          The easier it has been to get new, good content for a reasonable price the less I pirate.

    • Now, now, just because companies gleefully pillage the public domain, doesn't mean you have the right to infringe on their government-granted monopolies.

  • by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @09:51AM (#51321955) Homepage Journal
    The Nielsen ratings have never rally been without major sampling error, methodology and fallacy. If they really want the traffic numbers, they can get them from Comcast and other cable networks. And after reading the article, it's actually more just a complaint and response to a complaint than "escalation". Move along, nothing to see here.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 18, 2016 @09:57AM (#51321989)

      I know someone who was given a Nielson rating box and I have to say, they represent real tv viewers about as a much as a dog represents cats and vice versa. There are so many shows that had cult followings, canceled because of bad ratings (Bullshit bad ratings) and many bad shows saved by them.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "If they really want the traffic numbers, they can get them from Comcast and other cable networks. "

      Huh, that would be much less accurate than Neilsen, How does a Comcast know who in a residence is watching TV, or even if they are at all? The only visibility they might have is when channels are changed and when the box is turned on/off. If someone turns the TV off when they go to bed but leaves the cable box on, Comcast might conclude that 3AM infomercials are extremely popular.
      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        A microphone on the cable box that does nothing but listen for correlation between the cable box's audio output and the TV's might solve the "TV off but cable box on" bias, though I admit not the "fell asleep in the recliner" bias.

    • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:11AM (#51322073) Homepage Journal

      The Nielsen ratings have never rally been without major sampling error, methodology and fallacy.

      Yet probably still better than trusting a cable company to self-report how much ad revenue they should be getting.

    • by catchblue22 ( 1004569 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:21AM (#51322119) Homepage

      In general, I prefer Netflix's system that isn't based on ad revenue but rather subscription revenue. The ad revenue system seems to encourage broadcasters to seek the lowest common denominator in their audience. Netflix has won me over with series such as Daredevil and House of Cards. Other subscription based services also seem to produce better material, the best example likely being HBO with series such as Game of Thrones. I have little sympathy for the old broadcasters. They are dinosaurs and should pass into oblivion in my opinion.

    • I'm not sure I even understand what TV is so up in arms about. Isn't the primary use of Nielsen ratings to calibrate the pricing and structure of advertising? Which Netflix doesn't have any of?

      I mean, I guess it also allows HBO, FX, et al. to say they have the "most watched" $genre show. But if Netflix wants to say one of their own series is the most bestest evar, WGAF?

      Skimming TFA, the beef seems suspiciously close to "Netflix makes our dicks feel small, and they sometimes get shows that we wanted
      • by radiumsoup ( 741987 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:40AM (#51322213)

        Netflix may not have ad revenue, but they negotiate rates with content providers based on the number of times the content is watched.

        Your show sucks, and nobody watches it on Netflix? Not only will Netflix pay you less for it, when time comes to renew, they may drop it altogether unless you agree to take even less again.

        Your show is awesome and everyone watches it on Netflix? Netflix will pay you more to make sure their subscribers can still come to Netflix to watch it instead of going to Amazon or whoever else.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Netflix may not have ad revenue, but they negotiate rates with content providers based on the number of times the content is watched.

          Your show sucks, and nobody watches it on Netflix? Not only will Netflix pay you less for it, when time comes to renew, they may drop it altogether unless you agree to take even less again.

          Your show is awesome and everyone watches it on Netflix? Netflix will pay you more to make sure their subscribers can still come to Netflix to watch it instead of going to Amazon or whoever else.

          This is the heart of the dispute. Netflix can claim whatever viewership they want. The content owner cannot verify this because that information is proprietary, unlike for their own content. But Netflix knows what their numbers were on TV so they know the popularity of something before they buy it. But once they do, the owner has no way to know if the title has gained, lost, or held its value because they don't know the viewer numbers. It puts the power very much in Netflix's hands because they have pe

          • This is the heart of the dispute. Netflix can claim whatever viewership they want. The content owner cannot verify this because that information is proprietary, unlike for their own content.

            Precisely, yes.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I'm not sure that the TV viewer is the actual audience for this catfight.

        I think the audience for this catfight are the actual creative types that write, direct and act in these productions. The "ratings" brouhaha is code for "popularity" and "success" and they want to discourage talent from getting involved with Netflix productions based on the argument that it will be damaging to their careers.

        The whole thing seems bizarre, because I would think that MONEY would be the driver for most of Hollywood. Some

        • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @11:10AM (#51322423)

          The whole thing seems bizarre, because I would think that MONEY would be the driver for most of Hollywood.

          No, not really...

          Sure, they talk about money and appear to focus on money, but the reality is that once you have a lot of money and are free from worries about money, you undergo an interesting transformation...

          Money stops being everything...

          Power, control, egos, influence, vanity, and "winning" become just as, if not more important, than money.

          Put $100 million in the bank and earn $20 million a year and you'll find that your worldview and focus changes... a lot...

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          they want to discourage talent from getting involved with Netflix productions based on the argument that it will be damaging to their careers.

          The whole thing seems bizarre, because I would think that MONEY would be the driver for most of Hollywood.

          They're linked. Taking a less prestigious or lower paying role may limit how prestigious or high-paying your next role is likely to be.

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @09:52AM (#51321965)

    I agree that you can't have it both ways. That is like saying a movie is making a lot of money and at the same time claiming it is losing money.

    • That works just peachy in Hollywood...keeps the IRS happy and fucks the profit participants.

    • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @11:20AM (#51322493) Journal

      You're rated +5 insightful, but considering that's precisely how "Hollywood accounting" works, it should be +5 funny.

      For example Lord of the Rings trilogy made roughly $6 BILLION worldwide, yet New Line Cinema's accounting report shows "horrendous losses" and no profit at all.

      (http://www.pajiba.com/box_office_round-ups/10-movies-that-made-hundreds-of-millions-in-boxoffice-dollars-and-yet-somehow-showed-no-profit.php)
      Links to explanations in the original page above.

      1. My Big Fat Greek Wedding cost $6 million to make and made over $350 million at the box office, and yet lost $20 million.
      2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy made over $2.9 billion in box office, and yet showed âoehorrendous losses.â
      3. Return of the Jedi made $475 million on a $32 million budget, yet has never shown a profit.
      4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix made $939 million worldwide, and yet ended up with a $167 million loss.
      5. Forrest Gump earned $667 million, yet shows a loss of $31 million.
      6. JFK earned $150 million worldwide but showed $0 in profit.
      7. Coming to America made $288 million in revenue, yet showed no profit.
      8. Michael Mooreâ(TM)s Fahrenheit 9/11 made $220 million worldwide, and yet apparently showed no profit.
      9. The Exorcism of Emily Rose made $150 million on a $19 million budget and turned no profit.
      10. Batman, which made $411 million worldwide, showed a $36 million deficit.

      • The budget is how much it cost to put the movie in a can. The box office revenue is how much money was paid by the audience. There's a whole ton of marketing, distribution and exhibition costs that go on between those two. Yes, often those are inflated, but you make it sound like they should be zero.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          If every movie costs so much to market, distribute, and exhibit, then how do the studios stay in business? Is it by overcharging each movie for said marketing and distribution?

  • by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @09:58AM (#51321995)
    I'm loving the fact that voting with your wallet has become very powerful in this field right now. I just cut the cord on my basic cable package and moved to Zattoo.com (in Europe), which is a web-based TV provider. I get pretty much the same thing as before for either free (but in SD with a few more adverts) or I get more than I'd have got before (a generous cloud-based DVR and replay of anything in the last week) for half the money I used to pay the cable provider for its crappy set top box. This plus Netflix is great for me.
  • Shady Stats (Score:5, Informative)

    by HideyoshiJP ( 1392619 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:01AM (#51322021)
    I was surprised the summary didn't mention the fact that the company NBC hired used audio recordings from people's smartphones to guess statistics.

    Mr. Wurtzel provided data from a firm named Symphony Advanced Media, which uses audio content recognition installed on phones to recognize what is being watched and when.

    I'm willing to bet most of these users didn't even realize that fun game asking for microphone permissions was doing this.

    • And, to forestall the next step, it's worth noting that the somewhat-reasonable rejoinder to this is that people had to self-select to install this app -- I believe it's something you actively install and opt into. Which means that it's a lousy way to create a sample population.

      So in short: Either the methodology involves installing spyware on your phone against your will, or it involves self-selecting populations. It's either morally repugnant or just incorrect. Take your pick.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      Your bet would be wrong. Apparently it's above-board, opt-in and people get paid in $5 gift cards.
  • Nielsen ratings (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aramoro ( 28043 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:04AM (#51322039)

    Last year, I got one of those Nielsen diaries to track my household's television viewing, and they had a methodology for tracking Netflix as well as DVR, but only for shows watched on a television. Netflix on a desktop computer or tablet were not tracked...

    • It seems like Nielsen should allow tracking content watched on computer or tablet (or smartphone even). If anything, this situation just points to the fact that Nielsen needs to update how it collects ratings since there is no reason a Nielsen household couldn't also track viewing content from Netflix, Hulu, etc.

    • Yeah, I got the Nielsen diaries last year as well. I live in a small town about 65 miles from the state capital - so no OTA channels. We have one local PBS station, which they classify in the state capital market. So far so good. But, Nielsen recently put our town in the market of a city in another state (about 70 miles away). So, we cannot legally get our old channels or any local news - the FCC seems to take Nielsen markets as law. To make it more confusing, the commercials for the cable channels (e
    • I got one and watching shows live was the focus of the diary. They wanted me to use a blank page or insert loose paper of my own if I watched DVR later.

      So it was 20 pages with something like 18 for live TV, and 2 for DVR.

      Since I watch 99% of my TV timeshifted or on demand I didn't bother filling out the diary. Too much work to do it by the letter as they requested.

  • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:12AM (#51322075) Journal

    We, the viewers, hate you. You are sliding down a slight but increasingly steep slope into the deep dark hole of irrelevance and you don't even know it. It shows that you don't know it, because you increasingly devote time on your networks to advertising, at the expense of quality content. You continue with a business model of stretching out fairly mediocre and predictable stories over two or three hours, spread across two or three arbitrary 'ratings' weeks in order to inflate your own numbers, while admonishing Netflix for being dishonest.

    You fought tooth and nail against VCRs. You fought against DVRs. You now fight against online streaming. All of these technologies actually make experiencing your content better, yet you still fight them. We see through your bullshit, and we've found a content delivery paradigm we like better: all-you-can-stream for a low monthly charge. No advertising at all. All episodes of a season, and past seasons, available RIGHT NOW.

    As soon as someone cracks the hegemony largely preventing the streaming of live sports without having a cable or satellite subscription, you're done. And you still continue on like it's 1983. And what you don't realize, is that we can't wait to fire you for being completely inept in your own business and refusing to innovate in even the slightest ways.

    Stop clutching at the past, and embrace the future, before the future holds a pillow over your head and we all rejoice.

    Warm regards,
    Everyone

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:15AM (#51322091)

    Why do viewer numbers matter for Netflix? They don't show ads, so they don't have to put a value on their equivalent of airtime. The ratings are only relevant to them internally when deciding which content will gain/lose the most subscribers.

    • It says it is for "leverage to recruit more and better talent". While revenue is an important factor, many creators also what their work to be seen and enjoyed, so being able to tell people you work will be widely seen can be a convincing factor.

  • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:26AM (#51322143) Journal

    NetFlix does not have the same success criteria. The networks need people to watch shows at a certain time, not dvr them fast forward etc, because they depend on the ad revenues.

    That means the only measure of success is viewership at original air time for the most part and that the target demographic that the advertisers want tuned in.

    Netflix on the other hand is all about obtaining and retaining subscribers. It does not matter to them when people watch their series or really even if they watch! They need their subscribers to feel they are getting value. That means for instance if Netflix produces a show that mostly appeals to 4 year olds, that is fine. Mom and Dad think $9 a month is a cheap way to keep the kids occupied while they make dinner. Advertisers would hate that though because kids that age don't spend money.

    So at the end of the day if Netflix has the money to invest in content production and keep their bottom line in the black they are succeeding. So far all indications are that they do. Financial statements etc. The proof is out there.

    • if Netflix produces a show that mostly appeals to 4 year olds, that is fine. Mom and Dad think $9 a month is a cheap way to keep the kids occupied while they make dinner. Advertisers would hate that though because kids that age don't spend money.

      Serving an audience too young to buy things is also why OTA TV has an E/I requirement. Broadcasters are willing to pay extra for shows that fulfill their requirements under the Children's Television Act.

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        I am aware actually and it proves my point. Without special intervention in the market place by government OTA networks would air little such programing. If they had been airing enough Congress would not have stepped in.

        Netflix on the other hand is producing a number of kids shows with no such intervention. Their motivations are different. They like any business seek to provide what their customers want (at least in aggregate). In the case of Netflix that is you the subscriber. With traditional network

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      That means for instance if Netflix produces a show that mostly appeals to 4 year olds, that is fine. Mom and Dad think $9 a month is a cheap way to keep the kids occupied while they make dinner. Advertisers would hate that though because kids that age don't spend money.

      A four year old is more than old enough to know what toy they want at the toy store, the money is in convincing the parents to buy merchandise. And unlike an 8yo or 12yo were you might have a reasonable discussion about money and allowance a 4yo just wants. And yes, even kindergardeners will spot a bad knock-off or homemade look-a-like so by far most parents go with official trademark products because it's simpler, even though they can be quite expensive. You don't need ads between shows when the shows are

  • I am a Netflix user. I could give a crap about what CBS/NBC/ABC have to offer...Netflix will have it eventually. Maybe Netflix is acting like a peacock and extending it's tail, but reality says that it will win in the end.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      If I'm at all interested in what the dinosaur networks are offering, I can just put up an antenna and feed that signal into a PVR.

      I didn't even need cable for them before. Forget about now.

    • I am a Netflix user. I could give a crap about what CBS/NBC/ABC have to offer...Netflix will have it eventually

      Which means you do give a crap, or at least you should. For all that Netflix is, it doesn't actually produce a whole lot of content. It makes content produced by others available to you. If those other content producers go away and Netflix becomes the sole creator and provider, what happens then?

  • by timholman ( 71886 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:33AM (#51322175)

    Four years ago, the Starz network tried to destroy Netflix by yanking its content over demands for much higher licensing fees. It was a body blow to Netflix, and many people wondered if the Netflix streaming service could survive the loss of content. Fortunately, Netflix did survive, and now they're successful enough to call their own shots.

    Any information that Netflix provides to its competitors will just be used to try to destroy them, just as Aereo was destroyed. You don't do your enemies favors in this business. All that matters to Netflix is that they get enough viewers for their original content to justify their production costs. They are under no obligation to reveal their viewership numbers to their competition. If I were in their shoes, I'd be telling the major networks to take a flying leap, too.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @10:38AM (#51322203)

    ...NBC had hired a firm to estimate Netflix's viewership numbers, because Netflix won't release them....

    Back when it appeared as if Comcast (owner of NBC) was slowing Netflix traffic via intentionally overloaded border routers, one of the proposed solutions I read about was for Netflix to place some content distribution servers in Comcast's data centers. To do so would have required Netflix to share it's usage data with Comcast, and Netflix didn't want any part of that.

    .
    Now I understand better why Netflix didn't want to do that.

    • one of the proposed solutions I read about was for Netflix to place some content distribution servers in Comcast's data centers. To do so would have required Netflix to share it's usage data with Comcast, and Netflix didn't want any part of that.

      That's not what I remember being the problem with installing an OpenConnect Appliance at Comcast. It was that Comcast didn't want to give away colo space without charge.

  • Viewership numbers are vital within the TV industry. For years, the networks have relied upon ratings to make money — higher numbers mean higher ad revenue. The most important part of the ratings system is that individual networks can't just claim whatever viewership they want; third-party companies like Nielsen control the stats.

    So they built a business model based on ad revenue which presumes everyone else is using the same business model. Now someone else has a business that isn't dependent on ad revenue and is eating their lunch. Cry me a river. The networks provide crappy programming through a distribution model that nobody likes and then are shocked that customers are looking for alternatives. Good grief, what a bunch of tools...

    Either Netflix will make money on their products or they won't. The advertisers are the ones t

    • You know, it's not the ads I object to so much as the time slots. I'm sick and tired of only getting half a show because some sporting event or political speech ran over and my TiVo only recorded the first half of the show. When I try and buffer by recording the next show, I can't, because I'm already recording 2 things. Just show me a menu, let me pick a show and let me stream it to my house when I want to see it. You can keep commercials in if you want, But time slots still equal revenue. The show t
  • Years ago, a company called NCSoft shuttered a game called City of Heroes because they didn't find it profitable enough. Never mind that it had steady numbers after 8 years of operation and was pulling in over ten million dollars a year, even with an F2P setup that'd been recently implemented.

    A group that was trying to buy the property off NCSoft in lieu of shuttering it looked at those numbers and went "We can live with that!"

    Another company, Catalyst Game Labs, is in business today, keeping several game

    • by Zak3056 ( 69287 )

      Another company, Catalyst Game Labs, is in business today, keeping several game lines (BattleTech and Shadowrun) in print and growing. Yes, their fanbase is smaller than it was back in 1990, when they were created/owned/run by The FASA Corporation.

      I feel really nostalgic right now, but I've gotta say I really started disliking Catalyst when they annihilated my Kell Hounds. :(

  • by mr.dreadful ( 758768 ) on Monday January 18, 2016 @11:15AM (#51322449)
    Cable has shit the bed by maximizing cable profits to the detriment of the viewing experience (too many ads, extra fees for HD, too many bullshit channels) and now they complain that Netflix doesn't measure eyeballs the same way they do? Viewership ratings only matter to broadcasters that rely on advertising, Why should membership based Netflix be held to same metric? Who would that even benefit? I think a more interesting question is whats happening on Hulu, which is having its cake (subscribers) and eating it too (shows ads).
  • Given that this is Slashdot, I am surprised not to see any notable discussion of an important issue: If this turns in to an actual legal battle, one possible outcome would be the compulsory disclosure of analytics data.

    That would be A Bad Thing. I'm certain that Netflix does provide detailed, segmented, specific data to the people that provide and create the content they serve. This is as it should be. To be compelled to provide such data to their competitors is anti-capitalist at best (and I am writing as

  • I'm trying to recall how many years it's been since I've watched broadcast or cable TV - or how much longer it was for more than an hour a month.

    Ratings based TV is dead to me. To misquote a certain virtual muppet:

    • With ratings come advertisements
    • With advertisements comes pain
    • With pain comes anger
    • With anger comes the Dark Side

UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things. -- Doug Gwyn

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