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In a swipe at Netflix and others, Josh Sapan, the head of AMC Networks (makers of Mad Men and Breaking Bad) has called the use of data to pick shows a “goddamm disaster”.
He said data mining was useful for marketing and promotion but not in making creative decisions. “Others have tried mining data to use it to say good show, bad show or this story, that story … I’ve never seen it work terribly well. You can’t number your way to greenlighting a show and you can’t get data that shows you how to fix a story. Numbers are not knowledge; that particularly applies in the creative sphere.”
“If you don’t have the stuff, no amount of scale, scope or weaponry, you’d better be the best candidate.” The four biggest studios all rejected Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, while Mad Men was turned down for being “a bit quiet”.