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Netflix ‘will be global in five years, ratings are irrelevant’

NetflixNetflix’s Ted Sarandos has said he wants the streaming service to have a global footprint within five years and to ramp up originals to twenty series a year.

Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, added that ratings are irrelevant to the streaming service and that monitoring viewer numbers in the traditional manner has been bad for creativity in the TV business.

Netflix has been aggressively launching in international territories this year and speaking at investment bank UBS’s global media and communications conference, Sarandos was asked about the vision for Netflix over the next five years.

“Well, I think within five years we definitely would love to see, the product to be completely global, available everywhere in the world,” Sarandos answered.

He added that the US-listed company will ramp up originals to the point it is launching a new or returning series every few weeks. “I think that we can expand on our original programming, from where we are today to probably as many as 20 original series,” Sarandos said, “so the idea of launching original series or original season of content every two half weeks or so, kind of getting into a regular drumbeat with consumer expectation around originals.”

Netflix has spent US$6.5 billion on content this year, according to UBS, and its originals plan will encompass a wider slate of movies moving forward. Netflix said it was moving into features earlier this year with a sequel to fantasy martial arts film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

“The original movie strategy is based around what’s happening today, that movies are being nearly completely displaced in the culture by television. And I think it has less do to with the quality of television to the lack of quality movies and a really lousy distribution model for movies.”

Netflix has been notoriously secretive around viewing numbers for its content, never breaking out any ratings for any of its original or acquired. Ratings agency Nielsen said recently it was going to start tracking viewing numbers for Netflix and other connected platforms. However, the Netflix boss was sceptical it could produce accurate ratings.

He added that ratings were “irrelevant” and have, historically, been an impediment to creating great television. “It’s an irrelevant measure of success for us,” Sarandos said.

“We don’t sell advertising; Nielsen’s ratings are all about just applying the cost of advertising; we don’t jockey for channel position with cable operators. There is no reason for us to review all ratings, because I honestly think that it works against the quality of television.”

“Maybe it’s been necessary for the business of television, but it’s been horrible for the creative of television,” he added.