You can keep asking, but Netflix is not going to tell you what their ratings look like. Why? According to chief content officer Ted Sarandos, “It’s irrelevant to us; we don’t sell advertising.”
Still, a lot of people (and by people I mean corporations) seem not to be willing accept Twitter mentions and Google searches as actual data. The broadband technology firm Procera Networks declared on Saturday (only one day after the premiere) that House of Cards’ second season was already outperforming the first. Procera found that 15% of Netflix subscribers watched the second season premiere the day it was released, compared to 2% from the first season. Another polling group, CivicScience, projects that the eventual audience of House of Cards will be 13.4 million viewers.
Despite crushing much of their network and cable competition, Netflix continues to play it cool. The provider, as we all know, is in a pretty sweet place right now. They’re able to create the shows they want, bring old shows back from the bad, and then release that content however they want. They can focus on quality and audience engagement over advertising dollars and network approval. Ratings have such little impact on what they do that they announced the third season of House of Cards before the second season even premiered.
If you missed this speech that Kevin Spacey gave last August at the Edinburgh Television Festival, I seriously recommend giving it a watch. He lays out everything Netflix has going for it and how content is changing in true Spacey form (that is to say, perfectly).