Move over, HBO. Netflix claims that it hosts the most-watched show not on network television, beating out top-ranked cable series Game of Thrones.
The streaming service has been notoriously secretive about its viewership numbers, and chief creative officer Ted Sarandos continued coyly avoid the subject Monday during the UBS Global Media Conference, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Though shows like Orange Is the New Black, House of Cards, Master of None and Jessica Jones have earned critical raves and Internet buzz, Netflix has never confirmed exactly how many people are actually watching these shows.
But when the moderator at a conference panel asked Sarandos if he was happy with the fact that a recent survey showed Netflix would have the second-biggest show on cable if its viewers were traditionally measured—right behind Thrones—Sarandos evasively asserted that internal research suggests a Netflix show would actually take that number one slot.
“We’re pleased to take the number two spot, but think it’s number one because they don’t measure all the devices,” he said. He went on to provide anecdotal evidence of Netflix’s popularity. He said that Aziz Ansari, star and co-writer of Netflix comedy Master of None, hasn’t been able to walk down the streets of New York City since the show premiered, even though he was able to do so anonymously for six years while starring on network comedy Parks and Recreation.
It’s anyone’s guess as to whether Netflix shows like Narcos and Daredevil lure more viewers than the most popular cable shows. But Netflix is doubling down on whatever success it has had with 31 new television projects scheduled to drop next year, almost double the number the company produced in 2015. Some of the most buzzed-about shows include Marvel’s Luke Cage, Full House reboot Fuller House, an adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and a Judd Apatow-produced dramedy Love.
Netflix is also churning out more documentaries, comedy specials and films. Following the October release of its first original movie Beasts of No Nation—which has generated Oscar buzz for star Idris Elba and director Cary Fukunaga—Netflix is working on 10 different films for 2016. Among them are a Brad Pitt vehicle and an hour-long series about the birth of hip-hop from Baz Luhrman.
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