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How Many People Actually Watch Netflix Originals?

Doing that is doing your freaking job. It's not being pushy, impatient or disrespectful. It's ingredient No. 1 in good journalism.

In one breath, Netflix touts the unprecedented hype ahead of "Arrested Development." Hastings tells us it was huge and surpassed the company's expectations. Yet, he provides a lame excuse for not getting into specifics ...


The CEO says Netflix is not like linear television that forces viewers to watch programs at predetermined time. Netflix is all about choice and consumer control. The guy wants his cake and a meal; most of the media gives it to him, rather than smashing the pie in his face.

Obviously, if "Arrested Development" lived up to the hype, Hastings would use more than adjectives and grand, yet pathetically vague statements to tell us about it. I mean, for goodness sake, just provide numbers for episode one. Or, do you mean to tell me that, amidst all of this hype, all those folks on the edges of their seats waiting for the return of a failed program decided to wait a few weeks before kicking off their binge?

That's tantamount to Disney (DIS - Get Report), News Corp (NWSA - Get Report), Time Warner (TWX - Get Report) or CBS (CBS - Get Report) withholding ratings (even though it's not logistically possible for them to do this) of a major sporting event such as the Super Bowl because they're focused on how many people DVR'd it to watch later.

Reed! You mean to tell me that all of these "Arrested Development" fanatics did not want to be prepared to at least dish about the first return episode around the BBQ on Monday or at the water cooler Tuesday morning? What a load of crap. Yet, the broad media not only swallows it like tapioca, it writes empty headlines such as Arrested Development is a streaming success!

Based on what? Percentages mean absolutely nothing without raw numbers.

And, if those raw numbers that view Arrested Development over the weekend are not in the millions, Netflix got its head handed to it. But even if it was a "smashing success," Netflix is still in disarray.

The cost to carry original programming and the price Netflix charges users to watch it (not to mention the fact that it truly owns nothing, not even its originals) renders the strategy next to impossible. It cannot succeed without something extraordinary taking place.

For more on this, read the article that complements this one today on TheStreet Netflix Is Nothing Like HBO.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.
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