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Netflix publishes viewership numbers: transparency or marketing?

Netflix publishes viewership numbers: transparency or marketing?

It’s a rare glimpse into the tangible viewership that Netflix has delivered. But it’s not really meaningful. This is because of the way Netflix calculates your “view”.

specific numbers? In fact, Netflix is ​​mostly reluctant to do so. As part of this year’s Code conference, CEO and Program Director Ted Sarandos made an exception: For the first time, he provided a detailed look at the 10 best series and movies on Netflix. Because, according to Sarandos, the streaming service wants to be more transparent in the future.

However, these new numbers are not really meaningful.

How does Netflix calculate a “view”?

What are the most popular series and movies on the streaming service according to Netflix? Let’s take a look at the official “number of accounts” ranking – Netflix can’t say how many people use an account. That’s why Netflix talks about “accounts” and not “viewers.”

The most popular series and movies by number of accounts they watched.

Netflix / Code 2021

At the top of the series ranking is the first season of “Bridgerton”. 82 million accounts worldwide have watched the series. “Lupin: Part 1” came in second place with 76 million accounts. Then “The Witcher” season one with 76 million accounts.

Leading the movie rankings is the thriller “Extraction” with 99 million accounts, followed by the Sandra Bullock thriller “Bird Box” with 89 million accounts, and the action-comedy Spenser Confidential with 85 million accounts.

An official slide footnote that makes you sit up and take notice: When does Netflix start counting your Show?

The answer provides for discussion. Netflix states that it counts watched if at least the first two minutes of an entire season or movie was shown within the first 28 days after release. So if you watched the first two minutes of “Bridgerton” and then found the series bullshit, you’re still an official “Bridgerton” viewer on Netflix.

Meaning equals zero. As good as, at least. The second list published by Netflix is ​​a little better. Little.

Watching hours – is that really that much better?

The second list: the most popular series and movies, measured in hours watched. So it adds up the number of hours a series or movie has been watched worldwide.

The most popular series and movies by number of hours of viewing.
The most popular series and movies by number of hours of viewing.

Netflix / Code 2021

In fact, Bridgeton leads the series in watch hours. In turn, “Lupine” not only flies off the podium, but also completely breaks out of the top 10. “Stranger Things”, season 3, and “Money Heist”, part 4, both jump to the podium. In the list of movie rankings, the first two places remain unchanged. In contrast, the mafia thriller “The Irishman” climbed from outside the top ten to third place.

This example demonstrates these second order list problems. The movie has been watched for 215 million hours but is also three and a half hours – 210 minutes long. “Spenser Confidential,” the loser in the show’s hour rankings, has a runtime of just 110 minutes. Although more people have seen the action-comedy, the thriller Mafia remains at the top in this ranking due to its length.

Expression for the series is also limited: “Lupin” may be in the top ten because “Part 1” contains only five episodes. However, Bridgeton is eight episodes, and episodes are on average about 10 minutes long.

Good listings, but it’s more like marketing

The posted lists are exciting. But – they mean everything and nothing. It is more marketing than transparent information. he did that Quarterly Report The year 2019 from Netflix is ​​clearly visible. At that time, the measurement methodology was adapted to the current one described above. Previously, when an account viewed at least 70 percent of a title — an episode of a series or movie — Netflix rated the content — a season or movie — as “shown.”

In the quarterly report, Netflix justified the change by saying that playing two minutes is enough to say with certainty that viewers consciously decided to watch the content. Thus, Netflix interprets the term “loopback” much more in the sense of “watching” as YouTube does, and to a lesser extent in the sense of traditional TV station “quotas.” Higher numbers are easier to apply.

And where does marketing play?

In 2019, Netflix announced that The Witcher would be its most successful series to date with 76 million views to the account. Record. excellent. Advertising. marketing. What Netflix only mentioned in the fourth quarter footnote: 76 million views came the new way. With that said, the numbers will be about 35 percent higher than those of the old-fashioned way.

In other words: according to the old method of measurement, The Witcher was supposed to have an estimated 56.3 million views, which is the second most successful series after the third season of “Stranger Things”.

Not a quick address.