BOSTON -- The ratings gains that AMC's drama "Mad Men" is enjoying in its fifth season are directly tied to the popularity of the show on Netflix, a top executive at that company said.
"We brought maybe a million viewers to AMC," Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told attendees of the annual National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. convention here. The season premiere of "Mad Men" drew 3.5 million viewers, which was a new record for the show. Last season, "Mad Men" averaged 2.3 million viewers.
Netflix has found great success lately as a home for repeats of serialized dramas such as "Mad Men" as many viewers have taken to binging on such shows and watching multiple episodes in one sitting.
However, the challenge for TV networks is knowing which shows may resonate with viewers and find traction on Netflix down the road even if their initial ratings are soft. A network has to be confident to keep a low-rated show around hoping a Netflix-type service will bring in new viewers that will then eventually go to the primary source for more episodes.