November 18, 2014 at 10:25 pm #338783
They’re coming for ya, Netflix! I’ve been waiting to see if this would ever happen.
Nielsen to Reportedly Measure Netflix and Amazon Viewership
5:32 PM PST 11/18/2014 by Michael O’Connell
Netflix originals Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards could soon see their viewership outed.
One of TV’s bigger mysteries may soon be solved. Nielsen Media, the company with the standard measurement of U.S. TV ratings, has announced plans to measure subscription online video services like Neflix—reports The Wall Street Journal.
Netlfix and Amazon Prime have long been mum on ratings for both acquired programs and original series. And independent data on streaming services has been especially lackluster. Nielsen’s measurements will not yet include mobile device views for streaming series, but the company plans to use the content’s audio to identify which shows are being streamed.
Nielsen plans to tabulate the data for clients, media companies like traditional TV networks and studios, to see how their acquired content is performing on services like Netflix and Amazon. This could have a big effect on negotiations for streaming rights and bundles down the line. “Our clients will be able to look at their programs and understand: Is putting content on Netflix impacting the viewership on linear and traditional VOD ?” Nielsen senior vp Brian Fuhrer told WSJ.
This also means that Netflix and its blockbuster series, such as Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards, could potentially have transparent viewership data—at least for those willing to pay for it.
Netflix’s adamant secrecy about ratings has been a source of debate and deep speculation in Hollywood since the streamer stepped out in original content in 2013. Not only is there a curiosity to know the kind of audiences that’s fueling Emmy love and pop-culture affection for shows like Orange Is the New Black, the lack of viewership data is something that will figure into negotiations with writers and actors as the young stable grows older.
For now, the intent of the initiative is aimed to give media companies more clarity on where they choose to place streaming rights for their shows—and for how much. In the era of fractured viewership, binge-watching and time-shifting, it’s become abundantly clear that no audience can go uncounted.November 19, 2014 at 7:29 am #338785
I was honestly dreading this. It means that there’s a good chance that many shows will be removed from Netflix because of negotiations. I hope that Netflix had the sense to make really long contracts with popular shows, because if it isn’t, then this could be terrible for it.November 20, 2014 at 10:32 am #338786
Or the opposite may happen. Netflix may choose/be forced to substantially increase their prices as content providers demand more money for their programs. Either way, it sounds like the fans are going to be the ultimate loser in whatever shenanigans Nielson is attempting to do.
As far as I am concerned, what fucking business does Nielson have in prying into the viewership information of either Netflix or Amazon? Please inform me if I am wrong, but I did not know Nielson had a legal right to access that kind of information. For whatever reason the broadcast networks are okay with using Nielson Media to track ratings. That is perfectly okay if that is what they want. But why should Netflix/Amazon or any streaming service have to be subject to the Nielson Media Company?
Either way, I think this stinks and feel bad for all the fans that may lose out because of it.November 20, 2014 at 8:40 pm #338787
Exciting! The demographic ratings should be big.
I do dread people comparing these numbers to Live + Same Day though. Live + 30 across all platforms would be a much better comparison. Hopefully people at least have the decency to use publicly-accessible Live + 7 numbers.November 21, 2014 at 11:34 am #338788
Interesting news.November 21, 2014 at 11:49 am #338789
The people working on popular Netflix shows would love this. They would be able to negotiate bigger salaries and Netflix wouldn’t be able to say “we can’t pay you more because your show is little watched”.
Of course, we could also find out that some shows get huge buzz and media coverage and a relatively small audience.November 21, 2014 at 1:40 pm #338790
I think added transparency is a good thing. Make the information accessible and see if pop cultural impact matches up with viewership numbers and target demos. It probably will influence how shows and salaries are negotiated in the future, but that is the standard that broadcast, cable, and premium outlets are held to, so why not streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon as well?November 21, 2014 at 2:22 pm #338791
^Because streaming sites are not the same as broadcast, cable, or premium sites. Not to mention there is no way to accurately or realistically compare the numbers of a streaming service (which are not time sensitive) with the standard TV numbers, which are entirely time sensitive. I am sure the numbers geeks here are going to love this, but honestly what the hell difference does this make for viewers? Sure it may benefit the creators and owners of the provided content, but at the expense of the viewers.
And again, this is most likely going to screw over the fans in the long run. Either certain content will be removed because Netflix does not want to pay higher prices for it, or the bill for customers will substantially increase because content providers are asking for so much more to provide their shows. Either way, the fans lose out in the long run. I would not be surprised if in a couple of years Netflix is substantially higher priced, near cable rates, because they have to make up the cost of these supposedly all important numbers. Yes, the numbers may be interesting, but they also have a real world impact, and that will likely screw over the fans.
If there truly was a legitimate reason for fans to need to know this information that would be one thing. But it seems like the Nielson Media Company threw a fit until they got their way.
To me this whole situation stinks to the high heavens.November 21, 2014 at 2:41 pm #338792
I fully realize what streaming sites are and aren’t. But Netflix and co. want to be considered television outlets too, and in that regard, they should be subject to the same standards and transparency as the other outlets. This change is fine to me regardless and won’t change.November 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm #338793
Content providers will be asking for more money in any case because Netflix has grown and continues to grow its subscriber base. Also, content will be removed because there are more streaming platforms and services and Netflix can’t have everything. The landscape is very competitive right now.
I don’t think it’s about Nielsen getting their way. A lot of media companies have wanted this. I’ve read quite a few articles with executives criticizing Netflix and mocking the fact that they never report any viewership numbers.November 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm #338794
Outsider you are probably right in some regards. But as far as other executives criticizing Netflix for how they operate, I am guessing Netflix has the luxury of not caring and/or telling them to fuck off.
Besides the fact I think ratings are often garbage and rarely tell the whole story, my biggest complaint is the fact the fans are going to be the ultimate loser in this. I do not know how any streaming service is going to be able to provide their services to fans for $8-12 dollars a month when content providers/studios are raking them over the coals for higher fees. That is why this sucks to me.
And Netflix/Amazon are not trying to be TV. To my knowledge they have never claimed to be TV. There is a difference between being a part of the broadcast/cable/premium TV world and being an online outlet that happens to provide “original, creative, and high quality” content. Netflix/Amazon do not operate under the same model or standards that TV shows do, mostly to the benefit of the fans. Until Netflix or Amazon start actually showing/providing content over the airwaves or via a cable box/satellite, then they are not TV.November 21, 2014 at 2:57 pm #338795
They’re not exactly medium/genreless either. They compete alongside all the other television outlets for Emmys and other television awards. Either way, I’m perfectly fine with them being held to the same standards as the others.April 28, 2015 at 10:50 am #338796
Netflix Ratings Revealed: New Data Sheds Light on Original Series’ Audience Levels
April 28, 2015 | 10:00 AM PT
One of the media business’s best-kept secrets isn’t entirely confidential after all: Netflix audience ratings.
Select content companies have been turning to San Diego-based Luth
Research, which has assembled a sizable panel of Netflix subscribers in
the U.S. as a means of determining the most popular programs on the
An analysis shared exclusively with Variety revealed the
numbers for many of Netflix’s most recently launched original series —
including which new shows already seem to be challenging “House of Cards” in popularity.
the first of multiple superhero dramas coming to Netflix as part of a
deal with Marvel, premiered April 10, and is seeing strong sampling,
with an estimated 10.7% of subscribers watching at least one episode in
its first 11 days on the streaming service.
By way of comparison, the third season of “House of Cards,” which
premiered Feb. 27, attracted 6.5% of subs over its first 30 days of
availability. New comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” also bettered “Cards” in its first month (7.3%), while new drama “Bloodline” appears to be a slow starter (2.4%).
Still, any way you look at it, “House of Cards” is clearly a big
attraction for Netflix. When all three seasons of the show are taken
into account, the program has been the most popular series on all of
Netflix in March (6.4%). Its third season was also binge-viewed more
than any of the other aforementioned originals, with nearly half of subs
having watched at least three episodes in a single day in the first 30
days after release.
The data was drawn from a sample of 2,500 Netflix subscribers
watching via computers, tablets or smartphones. There’s one caveat: Luth
Research does not yet track Netflix viewing on TVs, whether
or those linked to streaming-media players or gaming consoles. Because
Netflix hasn’t offered much recent insight into its audience composition
across devices, it’s not easy to conclude whether TV viewers watch
different programming than those watching via other platforms.
But the data provides a rare glimpse into viewing patterns on
Netflix, which has frustrated many in its refusal to divulge audience
data. That’s proved problematic for producers
creating original programming for Netflix and for the studios that
pocket billions of dollars in licensing fees from the company.
Netflix declined comment regarding the Luth findings. While the
streaming giant’s execs have credited the sophistication of their
extensive user data with helping inform everything from their
content-acquisition strategies to audience-recommendation-engine
algorithms, the company has also long held firm on its disinclination to
publicize any measurement findings. Because Netflix does not carry any
advertising, the company professes not to care when a subscriber watches
Luth Research captured the viewing behavior with its ZQ Intelligence
tool, which the company bills as an “industry-first” solution capable of
extracting encrypted data within Netflix’s apps. Luth can drill down to
viewing patterns on an episode by episode basis including audience
demographics cross-indexed with user behaviors outside of Netflix.
ZQ Intelligence hasn’t been the only third-party research source to
shed light on Netflix viewing patterns. Companies tracking broadband
usage like Procera Networks have been able to calculate the consumption of specific programs, but Netflix has made adjustments to thwart such efforts.
With its focus on device-based Netflix consumption, Luth Research
could prove a good complement for industry research giant Nielsen, which
has pledged to offer measurement of subscription VOD services over
connected TVs. However, that data isn’t expected to extend to Netflix
As with Nielsen data, the Luth numbers can provide an approximation
of the audience size for a given series. For instance, if 10.7% of the
40.9 million domestic subs Netflix has watched at least one episode of
“Daredevil,” that would mean nearly 4.4 million tuned in over the first
11 days. The 2.3% who tuned in first day of release? 940,000 viewers.
That’s far from an exact comparison to Nielsen ratings for particular
episodes, but they can provide a ballpark sense of just how many are
watching top shows on Netflix on a given night or over a given period.
Luth expects to add Amazon Prime–which also doesn’t disclose its
audience data–to ZQ Intelligence later this year, according to Becky Wu,
senior executive VP at the company. Luth began offering ZQ Intelligence
in March and has data going back to the third quarter of 2013.April 28, 2015 at 12:00 pm #338797
“There’s one caveat: Luth Research does not yet track Netflix viewing on
TVs, whether Internet-connected sets or those linked to streaming-media
players or gaming consoles.“
Whoop diddy scoop!April 28, 2015 at 1:29 pm #338798
That’s embarrassing for Bloodline. Marco Polo was slammed by every critic around (I couldn’t get through 15 minutes) and they still had higher ratings? Granted it’s been out since Dec. while Bloodline only March. But Bloodline has big names to draw people in. Polo had unknowns. It would be interesting to see Transparent and all of Amazon’s numbers
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