Netflix will begin reporting viewership on its top programs and films on a regular basis, a major change in strategy for the streaming company that has been carefully guarding its data for the past decade.
The company said it will report each week how many hours people have spent watching its top 10 television shows and movies for both English and non-English titles, including Netflix originals and third-party content have been licensed.
In its first release of audience figures on Tuesday, Netflix stated that its subscribers spent 149 million hours watching last week Red notice, the action film starring Gal Gadot, making it the most popular English language content on the platform.
On television, the third season of the most watched English language show was Narcos: Mexico, attracts 50 million hours. Squid game was the most popular non-English language television show, with 43 million television hours in the week ending November 14.
“Nonsense. BS. Cherry picked. Untested. We have had a lot of feedback on our metrics over the years,” said Pablo Perez De Rosso, Vice President of Content Strategy. “This is an important step forward for Netflix, the creators, with whom we work and our members. “
Ever since Netflix got in with original content House of cards In 2013, the company largely hushed up the popularity of a particular program. Netflix doesn’t advertise, so the company doesn’t need to report reviews to attract brands like broadcast and cable television networks do.
Previously, Netflix reported how many subscribers saw the first two minutes of a program. Traditional television ratings, typically provided by Nielsen, measure the number of viewers during an average minute of a show.
Box office sales and Nielsen TV ratings – the traditional measure of success in Hollywood – don’t apply to Netflix, making it difficult to determine what streaming success means. Often times, even the actors and producers involved did not know how popular their film was, a source of frustration in the entertainment industry.
John Landgraf, CEO of FX, a Disney-owned pay-TV broadcaster, criticized Netflix in 2019 for its secret practices. “If you take hundreds of at-bats, you will get some singles, some doubles, and even the occasional home run,” Landgraf said. “And if you ever report a single strikeout, you are undermining an accurate perception of your batting average and misrepresenting the extent of your hits.”
Netflix has tiptoeed toward more transparency, but has largely chosen the numbers it publishes to brag about its biggest hits.
That will change with the new reporting system, but Netflix will not achieve the transparency of traditional TV and film performance. The company will only be releasing data for its 10 most successful programs and will skip the disappointments.
Netflix executives say traditional metrics like ratings aren’t relevant to the streaming business model. The company’s goal is to attract new subscribers and prevent existing ones from canceling, rather than making money from a single program. “It’s hard to figure out how best to measure streaming success, and there is no such thing as a perfect metric,” says Perez De Rosso.
Netflix’s streaming colleagues, such as Disney Plus and HBO Max, have published even less viewer data than Netflix. Netflix said it hired EY to review its metrics.
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