Lionsgate's Packer says online video distributors are stingy with viewing data

SAN FRANCISCO -- Even the studios which produce original online video don't know whether people are watching. Getting an accurate picture of how popular TV shows are on digital platforms like Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) is a challenge because the companies which have the data are not eager to share it, James Packer, Lionsgate's president of worldwide television and digital distribution, said at the Next TV Summit here Wednesday.

"I want everything and I get very little," Packer said. "A lot of my digital partners are very protective of their data. They are very good at their data and they know how to manipulate their data," he said.

That makes it harder on Lionsgate when it's trying to sell shows to other distributors after it runs online, he said. For shows that Lionsgate produces and that air on broadcast networks, Lionsgate's sales team can point to the shows' ratings in pitches to international distributors. "You can't do that with 'Orange [is the New Black],'" which Lionsgate produced and which is in its initial exclusive run on Netflix, Packer said. "So we have to come up with other ways to do that."

One way is to put the show on iTunes in markets where the studio has the rights to do so. Then it can see from the iTunes store's publicly visible rankings how well its doing. "If I'm in the top 10, trust me, that will make it into a sales presentation," Packer said.

For more:
- Multichannel News had this report

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