Screen Forever 2022: ABC challenges streamers to release ratings

ABC believes in ratings as a measurement of audience, and says Streaming platforms are too vague in their performance.

Producers gathered on the Gold Coast yesterday for the annual Screen Forever conference.

In a special Q+A industry session, panelists were asked about the lack of ratings available for producers from streaming platforms.

Que Minh Luu, Netflix’s Director of Content in Australia and New Zealand, said, “‘We do share insights with the producers we work with. It’s obviously not wholly made public, but there’s information that we share with our partners, because they should know. We tell a story and we give a pretty accurate insight into how these titles performed.

“I don’t think anyone’s really showing the raw data but what we can do as your partner is take you on that journey to understand how your title reached the audience that you were going for.”

Que Minh Luu added that critical acclaim and awards were other significant measures.

Daniel Monaghan SVP Content & Programming at Paramount+ warned to be careful what you wish for.

“If you have a certain number of subscribers, that’s not the same as having the population of Australia. I don’t think it’s fair for that to ever, or in the short term future, to go public,” he said.

“Our shows on Network 10 can live and die on those numbers and have. I agree with Que, providing a picture to producers of how it’s performing. The the old adage, particularly from Netflix originally was ‘It’s doing really well, thank you so much. It’s a success.’ I think a lot of the streamers have adopted a similar model, although we are evolving with how much we will share in the picture that we’ll paint for producers, but not necessarily for the press.

“It is still such a new world of reporting in that area that you have to be careful, you don’t kill a show before it gets its chance to find its legs before becoming Squid Game.”

Sally Riley, ABC Head of Drama, Comedy & Indigenous, said: “We do share our stats with producers. We go out on broadcast we also go out on iview and the iview audience is younger so it has a longer tail, as well. Every Monday morning after a drama goes out we send them the Overnights, we tell them what’s been going on iview every week.

“When we partnered with Netflix back in the day, we couldn’t even get the numbers from them. So they painted a picture for us… it’s a really vague, kind of hand drawn children’s picture that you get. Sometimes it’s got colour in it and sometimes it’s really kind of blurry, black and white …you just never know. I see.

“The numbers are important because we want to engage with the audience.”

Marta Dusseldorp from Archipelago Productions added, “Some people’s trash is other people’s treasure. A Place to Call Home got cancelled in the second season by Channel Seven, at 1.3 million. They said ‘not enough’. And it was just at the time that streamers were coming in and people were wanting to binge. But Foxtel picked it up, and we got another four seasons from it. Now it’s treasured and sold to 180 territories around the world. So, you never know.”

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