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Netflix's Sarandos scoffs at stock drop on 'Arrested' reviews

Netflix's Sarandos scoffs at stock drop on 'Arrested' reviews
Will Arnett, left, and Jason Bateman in "Arrested Development." Some critics have said the episodes are too long, but is that enough to drive down Netflix's stock? (Michael Yarish / Associated Press)

Selling Netflix shares because of "Arrested Development" reviews? You've made a huge mistake, according to chief content officer Ted Sarandos. 

Sarandos on Thursday made fun of reports that mixed reviews for its reboot of the cult comedy series drove down the company's stock.

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Shares of Netflix fell more than 6% to $214.19 a share Tuesday, the first day of trading after the company made all 15 episodes of the show's long-awaited fourth season available Sunday for streaming online.

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Multiple news reports attributed the stock drop to mixed reviews from publications such as the New York Times.

In remarks to investors at Nomura's Media & Telecom Summit in New York, Sarandos gave his reaction to those assertions: C'mon.

"I hope you guys are not really trading on New York Times reviews," he said. "It's not a Broadway show. It's not going to close because of a bad review."

New York Times writer Mike Hale critiqued the show's pacing, saying, "Everything feels slowed down and dragged out." At the same time, he wrote, "It feels forced and overly complicated."

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But Sarandos wasn't buying the idea that investors were selling based on critical pans, noting that some of the reviews were positive, including one from the Washington Post.

He argued that the new season was not designed for binge-watching and that reviewers who allowed themselves to digest the episodes for longer enjoyed the show more. Besides, he argued, that's not how most fans are consuming it.

"A small percentage of people burned through all of them," he said.

At the same time, Sarandos said there are no other shows on deck to be resurrected by Netflix. The critically beloved "Arrested Development" was canceled by Fox in 2006 because of poor ratings, but it developed a following that grew after its cancellation.

Sarandos said there have been calls the revive the short-lived science-fiction series "Firefly" – also a niche favorite – but it wouldn't make sense for Netflix to do it.

"It's a really rare bird," he said of "Arrested Development." "TV cults get more intense but typically smaller over time. 'Arrested Development' was unique because the audience grew dramatically when it was off the air."

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Twitter: @rfaughnder

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