CBS chief research officer David Poltrack took a critical
look at that question at the UBS Global Media Conference in New York on Monday.
Poltrack credited Netflix with striking original TV gold with "House of
Cards" and "Orange is the New Black" in 2013. However, it has
been more than one year since Netflix introduced a true new hit program. Poltrack's
point was that while Netflix has become a "player in the original content
business," the company isn't inherently superior at picking hits, compared
to traditional TV.
Netflix's batting average is below that of the pay cable
networks as well as the broadcast networks, according to Poltrack. Poltrack
didn't mention the fact that 2014, for Netflix, has been more about preparing
future series than about introducing them to the public.
But most of the shows that Netflix hopes will be hits
haven't come online yet. Netflix is also ramping up its production of original
shows for children. It introduced "VeggieTales in the House" last
month and has another one, "All Hail King Julien," coming up later
At the same UBS conference on Monday, Netflix chief content
officer Ted Sarandos predicted that his company would eventually be the largest
producer of original content in the world. But it's taking time to get there.
Poltrack, during his presentation, shared research about
Netflix viewing habits. According to the research, Netflix users watched an
estimated 1.1 billion hours' worth of Netflix's five original series last year,
while streaming repeats of the CBS hit show "NCIS" on its own
accounted for 800 million hours of viewing. Poltrack also said that Netflix's
original shows added up to just 6.6% of the service's adult viewership --
assuming viewers watched each episode just once.
Much of the rest of the viewing is of network shows licensed
by Netflix. Poltrack acknowledged the "frenemy" nature of Netflix for
his and other networks: Netflix is a formidable competitor, but they are a
valued partner as well.
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