BBC Boss Mocks Netflix Viewer Numbers For The Crown Compared To Bodyguard

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown on Netflix

I do say, shots fired, sir! BBC boss Tony Hall recently mocked Netflix's notoriously mysterious viewing figures in a speech at the Media & Telecoms Conference. He compared the streamer's presented numbers for The Crown to the BBC's own drama Bodyguard.

I mentioned the Bodyguard finale reaching 17 million viewers. That was in one month. Our data suggests The Crown reached seven million users in 17 months.

If only everyone used the same data, this would be so much easier. Bodyguard was a huge hit for the BBC, giving it the best viewing numbers in over a decade. Netflix picked it up for outside the U.K. and Ireland.

Richard Madden as David Budd and Keeley Hawes as Julia Montague in Bodyguard on BBC

Speaking of the U.K., the BBC told The Guardian The Crown figures Tony Hall referenced came from a national survey asking people in the U.K. if they had watched at least 15 minutes of an episode of The Crown. Not exactly the most official study, but that's what the BBC is going with -- and Netflix has yet to weigh in on the 7 million-over-17-months figures.

The Nielsens tried to jump in with some clarity in December 2017 after Netflix released The Crown Season 2. According to Nielsen data (via Deadline), The Crown averaged nearly 1.3 million total viewers and nearly 600,000 in the 18-49 demo. The total-viewer number lifted to 2.4 million for Episode 2. The average number of episodes streamed by viewers in the 18-49 demo in the first three days was 2.6, which is said to be on par with the opening weekend for Stranger Things Season 2.

Every so often, Netflix will reveal figures, if it's ready to brag about something -- from Bird Box to YOU. When it comes to how Bodyguard did on Netflix for viewers around the world, the streamer previously said (via EW) that Bodyguard, Baby, and The Protector were "each enjoyed by over 10 million member households in their first four weeks." According to EW, Netflix counts one user view for a series if 70 percent of one episode is watched by a single account. If everyone in your house uses the same account and watches the same show multiple times, that view is reportedly still counted as one.

At any rate, both The Crown and Bodyguard earned enough viewers to come back for more. The Crown Season 3 has completely changed its cast, which was always the plan, to show the royal family members in their later years. Newly minted Best Actress Oscar winner Olivia Colman is going from Queen Anne in The Favourite to Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown Season 3. Meanwhile, Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden has talked about possibly coming back for another season of Bodyguard.

The Crown Season 1 debuted in November 2016 on Netflix, with Season 2 following in December 2017. They skipped 2018 entirely but Season 3 is expected to premiere in 2019. Netflix has yet to release the exact date, but stay tuned. And keep up with everything that is currently airing on TV with our midseason premiere schedule.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.