“The world’s taste, and the world’s time, is what we’re after.”


Netflix gave New York Magazine’s Josef Adalian a full-access pass for his #longread on the company. It’s a good piece and worth your time.

Reading between the lines, I’d suggest that Netflix PR is aiming this one at the creative class/tastemakers in an effort to dispel the sentiment that a) shows are getting lost and b) data is running their decisions.

You can sum up the narrative with a few quotes from the middle of the piece:

Yes, we’re big:

I ask him how many potential viewers Netflix has, since most of its 125 million-plus paid subscriptions are obviously used by more than one person. “About 300 million,” he says. Given that, and the platform’s international reach, couldn’t one of Netflix’s shows eventually reach 40 or 50 million viewers? “Yeah, of course,” Sarandos offers. Has that already happened? “Definitely,” he says.

But we’re targeted:

Sarandos cites IMDb again as evidence for the success of one of Netflix’s original movies, the teen-targeted romantic comedy The Kissing Booth. Sarandos calls it “one of the most-watched movies in the country, and maybe in the world” — but of course he won’t offer me any internal data to back that up. “In [IMDb’s] popularity rankings right now, it’s the No. 4 movie behind Deadpool 2, Avengers: Infinity War, and Solo,” he says. “Jacob Elordi is the male lead. Three weeks ago on the IMDb Star-o-Meter, which is how they rank their popularity, he was No. 25,000. Today he is the No. 1 star in the world. And Joey King, the female lead, went from like No. 17,000 to No. 6. This is a movie that I bet you’d never heard of until I just mentioned it to you.” Sarandos’s point: Because reporters like me don’t have ratings or box-office numbers, we’re too quick to listen to rivals who claim stuff on Netflix is getting lost. “This is the competitive message you hear out of a couple of different networks and studios all the time. It is so wrong,” he says.

And creators love it here:

Netflix won’t even tell its creators how many people watch their shows — which was actually a selling point for recent hires Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes. “Ever since Glee, it’s been a daily death having to get up in the morning and get your daily report card that you know is a lie,” says Murphy. “The people who watch my shows are nontraditional TV viewers who are interested in nontraditional fare. They’re not going to watch something when you tell them to; they’re going to watch it when they want. I have so many tearful conversations with actors, having to say, ‘[The overnight ratings are] not the true story.’” Rhimes says she never paid attention to Nielsen numbers, even when they supposedly mattered. “What I like is that now I don’t have to work at a place where people believe [ratings] could be helpful for me in some way, send me those numbers, and expect me to translate them into anything,” she says.

Eyes wide shut.


Brilliant image for the Guardian’s piece on Netflix. It isn’t hyperbole, either. Netflix hasn’t been competing with Blockbuster or HBO or Amazon. They’e competing will Hollywood writ large—and have flawlessly taken away control of distribution and marketing from the studios and networks.

As Ben Thompson points out in aggregation theory, the company who owns the consumer interface wins. Netflix owns it—and will only concentrate it further in the years to come. The drama now is who wins the fight for the table scraps.


Font: Bauhaus 93

My homage to Mickey and Gus. I found the story of two people attempting to be vulnerable deeply moving and the ideal antidote to these deeply cynical times. Liner note: the triangle/circle motif comes from the 12-step sobriety chips. Bonus: Phone background


Lost in Translation

Scottish writer Hope Whitmore wants what  Scarlett Johansson’s Charlotte had in Lost in Translation, and it’s a lovely bag of wants:

I want to sing Brass in Pocket on karaoke in a baby-pink wig. I want the freedom of an unknown city; a small girl anonymous amid the crowds under the neon billboards. I want to steal Bill Murray’s jacket and return it to him with tears in my eyes in a hotel foyer, and all of this in the intimate soft focus of an Aaton camera. I want to figure stuff out and I want everything to be OK.