Metric sales

The problem with Netflix’s new audience measurement

by netflix recent announcement that he will soon begin reporting the number of hours his titles were viewed within 28 days of release, rather than the number of accounts reached for two minutes in that time frame, was felt to be a trick.

The planned change was intended as an initiative that will help more accurately describe the success of titles on Netflix. But the folks who have been following the top 10 headline dashboard on the streaming giant’s homepage shouldn’t be much better off once the stats seen in hours start to be reported on a regular basis.

One problem is that the hours viewed metric favors TV shows with longer run times and more episodes. Just look at Netflix’s Top 10 TV Shows as measured by Hours Watched in 28 Days and Netflix’s Top 10 TV Shows as Measured by Counts reached in the same amount of time.

The average total run time of the sets included in the first leaderboard is around 515 minutes, which is around 35% more than the average run time (around 381 minutes) of the sets included in the latter, according to the analysis. VIP +.

The difference in the average number of episodes of the series included in the two rankings is less important (9.5 for the ranking by hours viewed against 7.8 for the ranking by accounts affected). But it’s not hard to imagine how a TV series with, say, five episodes would struggle to attract the same number of viewing hours within 28 days of its debut as a TV series with 10 episodes.

Ranking TV series based on the number of hours watched in the month following their release also puts shows that air on a weekly basis at a disadvantage, as a weekly show may not have all of its episodes within four weeks.

Meanwhile, the average running time of titles from Netflix’s 10 best movies per hour of watching was around 132 minutes, which is around 10% more than the average run time (around 120 minutes) of included titles. in Netflix’s Top 10 Movies by Affected Households.

It’s not that bad with the metric switch. Under the Household Affected metric, a series that was viewed for two minutes by, say, 100 million households and a series that was viewed for 2,000 minutes by the same number of households would appear to have the same success.

But with the hours watched metric, we would have the nuance that this last show was more engaging.

Plus, the new watch hours metric gives us a better idea of ​​which titles viewers have chosen to replay.

For example, note that each show in Netflix’s Top 10 TV Series by Hours Watched has eight or more episodes. You would think that a series with just four episodes that broke into this ranking could only do so because viewers re-watched many episodes of the series within a month of its debut.

But whatever new information this new watch hours metric gives us, the problem remains that we’ll only receive metrics for the titles Netflix wants us to know. The streamer said it will start releasing audience metrics on a more regular basis, but given the volume of originals produced by Netflix, there will likely still be plenty of titles we don’t hear numbers for.

In addition, it is very doubtful that video streaming competitors like HBO Max or Disney + will start publishing audience figures for their shows that are comparable to Netflix’s new audience measurement. Even having the audience figures for each Netflix title is of limited use when it can’t be compared to the biggest hits of other streaming companies fighting for the past.

This is really why any new measure taken by Netflix alone is unlikely to be so groundbreaking either.

In the absence of an industry-standard reporting metric, evaluating the winners of the video streaming landscape will remain a sleuth, one where third-party measurement companies need to get involved.