Tuesday, December 7

Netflix renews the way it communicates its audience figures, but there are still nuances of transparency that can be improved

Netflix has always been accused of a certain opacity in terms of the audience figures it provided, and that for obvious reasons can only be known when provided by the company itself, since there is no way to resort to external measurements. Until very recently, the audience figures that Netflix gave were very little useful, since counted as a full viewing of a program if only the initial two minutes were viewed. Something that any modern viewer knows is terribly inaccurate, and inflates the numbers in favor of the platform.

At the last shareholders’ meeting, Netflix announced that from now on they would provide more accurate data on audiences. From now on, the platform will measure your shows by number of hours played rather than by number of views, also giving importance to those reviewed. Netflix reported that they would start reporting metrics more regularly outside of revenue reports, and they have done so with the launch of la web Netflix Top 10.

A Top 10 that still has its problems

The website will publish the top 10 of the week every Tuesday, for both series and movies, based on the total number of hours viewed. Each season of a series, Netflix warns, will count as an independent production, so we will undoubtedly see different seasons of the same header in the same top. It will also be possible to specify these data both in legal terms and by areas and countries. It is even possible to download the figures in Excel or TSV format.

The good news is that Netflix is ​​listening to complaints from the press and viewers (although this release of a website specifying the triumph of ‘Red Alert’ can also be understood as an appropriate marketing maneuver, after the announcement of ‘Best premiere in the history of Netflix’ with data provided by the platform itself raise some eyebrows). The bad news is that you can still put flaws in the way you communicate the data.

Because “Number of hours viewed” (for example, the almost 150 million hours of ‘Red Alert’ or the almost 60 of ‘Lovehard’) only reflects a sum of hours, without specifying how many specific views. And that falsifies the possibility that many viewers have left the film in its first hour, which would give an accurate account of the extent to which the production manages to keep the viewer’s attention throughout its footage. Not to mention that it is very possible that twenty minutes of viewings count as a full hour (taking into account the famous rounding that equated “two minutes viewed” with “two hours viewed”, it would not be surprising)

This would be an especially significant data with the series, where keeping viewers for a full season is an even more complex task. At this time, at number 1 of the series appears ‘Narcos México’, with more than 50 million hours. Do all those hours belong to full viewings of the series or, more possibly, do most of them come together in the first half of the season?

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It would be desirable to know this type of data, which includes valuable data about how we consume streaming and which products are the genuinely successful of each platform, as told by ‘The Hollywood Reporter’. Platform data remains a mystery, but according to Nielsen figures for September, Netflix accounts for 6% of “total television viewing time” in the United States. But the truth is that the details, nuances and scope of that data still escape us.


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