As Netflix ushered in the online video era, it helped eliminate traditional TV ratings. Now the company says it wants to bring them back, something like: The streaming giant will start publishing lists of its most popular movies and TV shows, which will be updated daily. week.
Netflix data will show itself website, where it will provide multiple top 10 lists ranking titles by the number of hours the company’s subscribers have spent viewing them. The company will have global rankings for TV shows and movies, as well as top 10 lists for 90 different countries. Netflix also said it will bring in accounting firm Ernst & Young to check its numbers and will release a report from that company next year.
This should have almost no effect on how you watch Netflix – unless you monitor data on how other people watch Netflix. To be fair, many people.
Here’s an example of what Netflix’s ratings would look like – they rank Netflix’s global views for the second week of November and include content that is owned by Netflix as well as licensed content. Licenses from other companies:
A streaming company publishes its own viewing data on a regular basis unlike the old world of TV, when Nielsen regularly monitors viewing consumption for all TV networks and makes that data widely available.
But we no longer live in that world. Instead, video viewing is increasingly fragmented into different streaming services owned by different companies, where they will choose which audience data to share when they think they have something. That’s to brag about.
Netflix is no different from its competitors in that respect: It comes up with these new numbers because it thinks they reflect well on Netflix.
And while those numbers may be interesting to you, A Person Who Watches Netflix, these numbers are really geared towards a professional audience. That includes investors, who want to see if the billions of dollars Netflix spends on content translates into Things People Watch (note that the two Top 10 lists above are dominated by something Netflix does instead of renting). It also means Hollywood talent who wants to be assured that the stuff they do for Netflix is being watched by a lot of people.
The numbers also represent a wordless challenge to rival streaming services like Disney+, Hulu, and Peacock: We dare you to publish your numbers using the same method as we bet they are much smaller than. It’s also important to note that the primary audience for traditional TV ratings — advertisers who want to know where they’re spending their money — isn’t the big deal here, since Netflix doesn’t run ads.
Netflix used to keep all of its viewing data to itself, and was initially annoyed when outsiders tried to measure shows themselves. But two years ago it started sifting and periodically releasing some of its own numbers – always the ones who flatter the company.
The numbers also drew derision from competitors and critics. That’s partly because there’s no real transparency to the reporting, and partly because of Netflix’s quirky and changing definition of what a “view” is. At first, Netflix said a view occurred if someone watched 70% of a TV show; The company later revised that and said anyone who watched at least two minutes of a show counted as a viewer.
Now, Netflix simply keeps track of the total time that viewers spend on a show or movie. That means, in theory, two people are watching Red Notice, the lousy but popular action movie starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot, will count as a moviegoer twice.
So let’s say Netflix makes a Red Notice next part. (Pro: The movie, which reportedly had a $200 million budget, is reportedly Netflix’s attempt to make its own action franchise; Con: Looks like it’s made for a much under $200 million.) But given the new numbers Netflix is releasing, you won’t have to rely on contextless braggings like this to judge whether it’s a good idea or not. :
On the other hand, having consumers advertise behind-the-scenes information about the entertainment they consume does not necessarily result in a better experience. We often watch TV shows and movies with almost no idea how many other people are watching, and that’s fine. Let’s ignore all of this.